Oil Crises & Alternative Fuels


Deepak Singh
JK Padampat Singhania Institute of Management & Technology


India imports crude oil to the extent of 75 % of its annual requirements.  This research paper focuses on the demand & Supply of fuels &, alternative fuels. The road transportation is likely to become less competitive with respect to the Indian Railway. Bulk transportation items like iron ore, coal, steel, food grain are likely to shift to Railway/CONCOR. Alternative technologies and fuels have been discussed along with appropriate administrative measures by the government to tame the ever increasing demand for petrol/Diesel/ subsidized Kerosene and ATF in India. The fuel efficient Tata Nano will now play a significant part in the current Indian automotive environment under the rising Petrol Prices. It s peaks volumes about the far sightedness of Shri Ratan Tata and his dream about providing affordable, efficient and safe transport mechanism for millions of Indians.

Introduction to Energy Scenario of India


One important factor contributing to the current rise in worldwide oil crises has been increasing demand, from both expanding economies (such as China and India) and established markets. Demand growth is highest in the developing world. As countries develop, industry, rapid urbanization and higher living standards drive up energy use, most often of oil. Thriving economies such as China and India are quickly becoming large oil consumers. China has seen oil consumption grow by 8% yearly since 2002, doubling from 1996-2006, indicating a doubling rate of less than 10 years.


An important contributor to crises increases has been the slow down in oil supply growth, which has continued since oil production surpassed new discoveries in 1980. The fact that global oil production will decline at some point, leading to lower supply is the main long-term fundamental cause of rising prices. Increasingly, remaining reserves become more technically difficult to extract and therefore more expensive. Eventually, reserves will only be economically feasible to extract at extremely high prices. In addition, turbulence in the Middle East, the world's largest oil-producing region, has led to decreased exports, especially civil unrest in Iraq after the 2003 U.S. invasion. Outside the Middle East, Venezuela has experienced strikes and political turbulence, and there is growing instability in West Africa.

Overall Production and Consumption

India is a major energy producer and consumer. India presently ranks as the world's eleventh largest energy producer, accounting for about 2.4% of the world's total annual energy production, and as the world's sixth greatest energy consumer, accounting for about 3.3% of the world's total annual energy consumption. Despite its large annual energy production, India is a net energy importer, mostly due to the large imbalance between oil production and consumption.

Alternatives India can consider with rising oil Crises.

Bioalcohol / Ethanol

Both ethanol and methanol have been considered for this purpose. While both can be obtained from petroleum or natural gas, ethanol may be the most interesting because many believe it to be a renewable resource, easily obtained from sugar or starch in crops and other agricultural produce such as grain, sugarcane or even lactose. When alcohol fuel is mixed into gasoline, the result is known as gasohol and labeled with an 'E' followed by the percentage of Ethanol. E10 is commonly found throughout the southern United States, E20 will be mandated by the U.S. state of Minnesota by 2013. and E85 (containing 85% ethanol and just 15% of gasoline) is slowly becoming available. E100 is straight ethanol, which is most widely used in Brazil and Argentina.


One of the significant benefits of Diesel combustion engines is that they have 50% fuel burn efficiency; compared with just 23% in the best gasoline engines. This makes Diesel engines capable of achieving much better fuel efficiency than gasoline vehicles.

Biodiesel is commercially available in most oilseed-producing states in the United States. As of 2005, it is somewhat more expensive than fossil diesel, though it is still commonly produced in relatively small quantities (in comparison to petroleum products and ethanol).


Compressed Biogas may be used for Internal Combustion Engines after purification of the raw gas. The removal of H2O, H2S and particles can be seen as standard producing a gas which has the same quality as Compressed Natural Gas. The use of biogas is particularly interesting for climates where the waste heat of a biogas powered power plant cannot be used during the summer.

CNG Compressed Natural Gas

High pressure compressed natural gas, mainly composed of methane that is used to fuel normal combustion engines instead of gasoline. Combustion of methane produces the least amount of CO2 of all fossil fuels. Gasoline cars can be retrofitted to CNG and become bifuel NGV Natural gas vehicles as the gasoline tank stays. You can switch between CNG and gasoline during operation. Estimated over 5 million CNG vehicles running worldwide.

Flexible fuel

A flexible-fuel vehicle or dual-fuel vehicle is an automobile or truck (lorry) that can typically alternate between two sources of fuel. A common example is a vehicle that can accept gasoline mixed with varying levels of ethanol (gasohol). Some cars carry a natural gas tank and one can switch from gasoline to gas.

North American vehicles from approximately 1980 onward can run on 10% ethanol/90% gasoline (e.g., E10) with no modifications. Prior to 1980, many cars imported into the United States contained rubber, aluminum, and other materials that were generally non-compatible with any ethanol in their fuel delivery systems, and these cars experienced problems when E10 was first introduced. American made cars from the late 1970s onward can run on E10 with no modifications. E10 fuel is widely available.

Hybrid vehicle

A hybrid vehicle uses multiple propulsion systems to provide motive power. This most commonly refers to gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, which use gasoline (petrol) and electric batteries for the energy used to power internal-combustion engines (ICEs) and electric motors. These power plants are usually relatively small and would be considered "underpowered" by themselves, but they can provide a normal driving experience when used in combination during acceleration and other maneuvers that require greater power.


A hydrogen car is an automobile which uses hydrogen as its primary source of power for locomotion. These cars generally use the hydrogen in one of two methods: combustion or fuel-cell conversion. In combustion, the hydrogen is "burned" in engines in fundamentally the same method as traditional gasoline cars. In fuel-cell conversion, the hydrogen is turned into electricity through fuel cells which then powers electric motors. With either method, the only byproduct from the spent hydrogen is water.

LPG or Auto gas

LPG or liquefied petroleum gas is a low pressure liquefied gas mixture composed mainly of propane and butane which burns in conventional gasoline combustion engines with less CO2 than gasoline. Gasoline cars can be retrofitted to LPG aka Auto gas and become bifuel vehicles as the gasoline tank stays. You can switch between LPG and gasoline during operation. Estimated 10 million vehicles running worldwide.

Alternative Transportation..Tata Nano fuel efficient car from Tata Motors Ltd.

The project to create a 1 lakh (1 lakh = 100,000 rupees) car began in 2003, under the Chairman of Tata Motors, Ratan Tata. The strategy behind the project was the awareness of the number of Indian families who had two wheeled transport, but couldn't afford a four wheel car, and was based on the company's success in producing the low cost 4 wheeled Ace truck in May 2005.

Conclusion: - However, situation is not all that grim for optimists with a little knowledge of how internal combustion engine powering transportation system works. Technology employed with innovation should provide the answer. Necessity is the mother of invention. In addition, PCRA should be encouraged to come up with a high voltage advertising campaign to motorists to conserve fuel by better driving habits, better maintenance and traveling light. In view of expensive road transportation, bulk transportation of items will move to Indian railways and CONCOR.


* ASSOCHAM website
* Business Standard 17 June 2008 issue
* Business Standard 27 June 2008 issue
* DGCIS Kolkata
* Economic Survey 2007 -08, The Govt. of India
* FICCI website
* Hindustan Times 15 June 2008 issue
* Hindustan Times 27 June 2008 issue
* http://www.cslforum.org/india.htm
* http://www.rediff.com/money/2005/apr/19oil.htm
* Maruti Udyog Website
* Ministry of Petroleum. Govt. Of India Website
* Ministry of Railways website
* PCRA website
* SIAM website

Deepak Singh
JK Padampat Singhania Institute of Management & Technology

Source: E-mail February 27, 2009


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