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Many a Slip ‘Twixt Cup and Lip

The automobile industry is witnessing a slight increase in demand, but, at the same time, there is a waiting period of more than seven months for some of the cars and SUVs in demand owing to a shortage of semiconductors.

For some time, the price of fuel remained unchanged even when that of crude oil came down. Now that crude oil price has gone up, the price of petrol and diesel has also followed suit. As a matter of fact, there has been a rise in the prices of everything from raw material to finished goods. Survival itself has become a struggle for most people, what with a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder costing over Rs 900.

Ethanol blending is giving rise to a lot of issues, starting with growing sugarcane, which requires a lot of water to cultivate when water shortage is a perennial problem. The other day I saw a board at a petrol pump saying that they were not responsible if the customer found water in petrol because, according to the pump owner, when water comes into contact with ethanol-blended fuel, the ethanol in the blend turns to water and gets separated from the petrol. Thus, in practical terms it means that now we are paying nearly Rs 108 per litre for a mixture of petrol and water!

The electric vehicle (EV) story is also not as straightforward as it looks or is made out to look. First, you have to change your power connection from the normal five-kilovolt three-phase line to a 30-kV meter and, secondly, a heavy-duty cable is required to conduct the extra current that is drawn to charge a car battery. Moreover, nobody is talking about the safety aspect of electric cars. Has anybody discussed the matter with the fire department to know the exigencies involved if batteries catch fire? According to a statement by the US fire department, they may not be able to extinguish it if an electric car catches fire; they will just have to let it burn down.


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