12/15/2015 | 1 MINUTE READ

Indian Carmakers Decry Diesel Ban for New Delhi

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Vehicle manufacturers in India warn that last week's court order temporarily barring the registration of new diesel-powered vehicles in New Delhi could disrupt the country's auto industry.

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Vehicle manufacturers in India warn that last week's court order temporarily barring the registration of new diesel-powered vehicles in New Delhi could disrupt the country's auto industry.

The country's National Green Tribunal imposed the ban late last week until Jan. 6. The court also ordered government organizations and state-owned companies to prepare plans to phase out their use of diesels entirely.

But the head of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers complains that "diesel vehicles have become the whipping boys" for environmental problems. He notes the tribunal's order penalizes sales of the industry's cleanest diesels while ignoring the continuing use of older, dirtier models. SIAM estimates half the vehicles in New Delhi are diesel powered.

The court ruling came as New Delhi's government readies a plan that will limit overall vehicle use in the city to odd or even days, depending upon the vehicle's license number, beginning Jan. 1.

India's government also has suggested accelerating the adoption of more stringent air quality standards for India, where current rules trail European regulations. Carmakers oppose a change in the schedule.

The World Health Organization considers New Delhi the world's most polluted city in terms of microscopic PM2.5 particulates. The airborne particles, whose concentrations in the city average 10 times WHO guidelines, are linked to asthma, heart disease and other ailments.