Did you know that every time you apply the brake while riding your car, or every time you leave the flame on high while cooking on your LPG stove; you are contributing to the increasing demands of oil in India? Most of you would be thinking ‘so what?’
Well, here is some data. India’s crude oil import bill increased more than 40 percent to $68 billion in 2007-08 following a consistent rise in global crude prices. According to data released by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, India imported 121.672 million tons of crude oil for $67.988 billion in 2007-08, as opposed to 111.502 million tons imported for $48.389 billion the previous year. India also imported 22.716 million tons of products such as naphtha, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene for $15.255 billion. The 2.829 million tons of LPG imports cost $2.135 billion, while 5.965 million tons of naphtha cost $4.565 billion. (Source : www.upi.com/energy_resources )
Indians spend a considerable amount of their income towards fuel and related expenses (cost of transportation of daily necessities). Exponential growth of India’s economy has given rise to an exponential need for energy. Fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) are the most commonly used fuel by people. Fossil fuels have been formed from decaying plant and animal matter under pressure for many million years. The fuel that has been formed in millions of years is being used at an alarming rate:
So, what can the Government do about it?
Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) , along with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and entire oil industry celebrate ‘Oil and Gas Conservation Fortnight’ every year. This year the fortnight is from January 15 to January 31. Activities including distribution of literature in various languages, training meets, seminars, exhibitions, cycle rallies, etc are undertaken to create awareness about the conservation of oil and gas. While these activities may be helpful in educating the public about oil conservation, it would be interesting if the government can set a good example. Why not make it mandatory for all Government, and public sector vehicles to curb their excessive use of vehicles? Make that a rule and ensure it is implemented. I am sure that would be a good start! Also, non-conventional energy sources should be made more viable for commercial use. If the government really wants us to conserve oil, why not make alternative energy sources more accessible?
As citizens, what can we do about it? We can become more educated about Oil Conservation and act responsibly. PCRA has some very good tips online for conservation of oil and gas. After going through those tips, I wondered as to how I would follow them. Next time I cook, will I make sure all materials needed for cooking will be available before I switch on the gas? Will I check the tire pressure of my car regularly? Atleast I felt slightly good, that I do plan my trips, and walk short distances instead of using the car (weather permitting) But, I do have a long way to go to put the tips into practice. How much of self-discipline will I show? As much as we try, I know we all have random slip-ups, but we need to be responsible enough. With the high oil prices, and growing need for fuel conservation, every small bit can definitely go a long way.
Did you do your bit to conserve oil today? Share your thoughts and actions. Have a wonderful day!