Delhi on Sunday became the first city in the country to implement the highest emission standards Bharat Stage VI for its vehicles. State-owned oil companies began supplying Bharat Stage VI fuel at existing prices at their 391 petrol pumps in the city from Sunday, PTI reported.

In November 2017, when Delhi and neighbouring states experienced dangerous pollution levels, the Centre had decided to advance the implementation of Bharat Stage VI norms in the city by two years to April 1, 2018. The government also asked oil firms to consider introducing the BS-VI norms to other parts of the National Capital Region from April 1, 2019.

India has followed the Bharat Stage IV norms since April 2017, and is scheduled to switch to Bharat Stage VI in April 2020. In January 2016, soon after the Paris climate change conference, the government had decided the country would skip Bharat Stage V norms, and move straight from Bharat Stage IV to Bharat Stage VI four years before the earlier 2024 date.

State-owned Indian Oil Corporation said consumers will not have to pay extra for the cleaner fuel, even though oil companies have invested heavily to produce it. The companies will work on a mechanism to recover their costs after the whole country moves to Bharat Stage VI, said IOC’s Director (Refineries) BV Rama Gopal.

The refineries currently producing the cleaner fuel include those in Mathura, Panipat, Bina and Bhatinda. About Rs 183 crore was spent on the Panipat refinery alone to produce Bharat Stage VI fuel, PTI reported.

The latest grade fuel will help reduce emissions of particulate matter by 10%-20% in existing cars and two-wheelers, but will help even more after vehicles have Bharat Stage VI-compliant engines, Gopal said.

Europe already uses the Euro VI emission norms, while much of India was still covered by BS III norms until the introduction of BS IV this year.