The fuel guzzlers are taking a new taste, courtesy the uncertainty surrounding diesel. Petrol is increasingly becoming the fuel of choice for buyers of utility vehicles, a segment where diesel with its better pulling power and fuel economy always ruled the Indian roads, even after the government scrapped subsidies.
The behavioural shift now is being seen as a result of the Supreme Court’s order banning the sale of large diesel vehicles in the National Capital Region. While the order covers only Delhi and its satellite cities, it created countrywide noise and many believe the ban could become wider at some point of time because of growing concerns over pollution in India’s cities. Sales of petrolpowered versions comprised as much as 13% of total utility vehicles sold in the country in the last financial year. Five years ago, the share of petrolrun vadriants were just 2% of the total utility vehicle sales. The domestic market for utility vehicles grew more than 80% in the same period to 5.87 lakh units.