It is necessary to dispense auto fuels of the right quality to achieve the targeted emissions from vehicles. Therefore, adulteration of auto fuels should be discouraged in all its forms. Off late India has also taken some initiatives to tackle this problem. As per the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG) following Steps have been undertaken to control Adulteration of Fuel in the country:

(a) The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has caused oil companies takes various steps listed below to detect/ prevent adulteration of MS/HSD at retail outlets: -

» Filter paper Test,
» Furfural doping of PDS Kerosene,
» Density checks,
» Blue dyeing of kerosene,
» Regular/surprise Inspection of retail outlets,
» Joint inspection of retail outlets by the industry teams,
» Regular /surprise inspection by mobile laboratories,
» Special vigilance drives, etc.

(b) Further, in order to prevent diversion of kerosene meant for distribution under PDS for adulteration, MoPNG has directed the oil companies to ensure upliftment by the wholesalers as under:

» 60% by 10th of the month
» 25% during next week, and
» Balance 15% during the following week.

(c) MoPNG has also advised State/UT Government from time to time

» To ensure upliftment of kerosene by the whole-sellers from oil companies as per upliftment pattern mentioned above.
» To identify loopholes in the distribution system.
» To review scale of distribution of kerosene to various cardholders, with regard to factors as availability of alternative fuels.
» To discontinue allocation of kerosene to the cardholders having double LPG connection and to discontinue allocation of kerosene for uses other than cooking and illumination.

(d) MS/HSD control order has been amended for providing testing of MS/HSD for various parameters of specification apart from density like Octane No. of MS, Cetane No. of HSD, and any other parameter of MS/HSD specification indicated in the order.

(e) The state Govt. authorities are empowered under the MS/HSD control order to conduct inspections at the retail outlets and take appropriate action against the erring dealers in case of any mal-practices/irregularities detected.

(f) MoPNG has also amended the kerosene control order making it mandatory for the parallel marketers to file end use certificate from their industrial customers.

(g) An independent fuel-testing laboratory has been set up at Noida as directed by Hon'ble Supreme court and as desired by EPCA for testing of samples drawn from retail outlets in the NCT/NCR.

(h) MoPNG have issued two control orders namely (i) the solvent, Raffinate and Slop (acquisition, sale, storage and prevention of use in automobile) order, 2000 in order to prevent unauthorized usage of these products for adulteration of MS/HSD at retail outlets.

(i) In addition to above, following measures are at advanced stage of implementation to prevent adulteration of MS/HSD: -

» Oil companies are undertaking trial of various marker systems to detect/prevent adulteration of MS/HSD.

» Oil companies are examining the feasibility of replacing the existing sealing system for the tanks carrying MS/HSD with Assa Abloy Security locking system in order to prevent en-route adulteration f MS/HSD by transportation /Tank truck crew.

» MoPNG has directed the oil companies to increase the number of mobile laboratories.

» Oil companies are setting up a number of laboratories equipped with facilities like CFR engines to test octane /cetane number of MS/HSD sample etc all over the country.

(j) Following methods are practiced for checking kerosene adulteration in MS:

» Filter paper test
» ASTM Distillation

However, both these methods are qualitative in nature and detection of low level of adulteration with SKO is not possible. For this IOCL (R&D) has done substantial work and based on the findings, addition of 20-ppm furfural was recommended.

(k) A method using GC as a powerful laboratory -based tool for detecting hydrocarbon-based adulteration was suggested. In this original GC Finger prints (chromatogram) on as many potential base fuels (pure fuels) such as automotive gasoline, diesel fuels and kerosene were essential .The approach was to generate chromatogram of the fuels procured from the market and than to compare the same against the chromatogram of the so called pure fuel for the hydrocarbons like hexane, heptane, etc. Any deviation in the concentration of hexane, heptane, etc in the fuel amounted to adulteration. However this method of detection of adulteration was later declared to be erroneous, arbitrary and irrelevant as it is claimed that there is nothing like pure gasoline, kerosene and diesel. Typically any of these fuels can be blended with different hydrocarbon streams of refinery meeting the product specifications characteristics as per relevant Indian and International norms.

11.1 Committees & Task Forces Constituted in India for Checking Fuel Adulteration

BIS Study Group on Adulteration
Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has constituted a task force to look into various aspects of fuel adulteration. The terms of reference of the study include reviewing current methods for testing of petroleum products, identifying strengths and limitations of currently used methods, reviewing of intermediate testing protocols and identification and validation of possible test methods.

Biocode marker system:
Upon successful demonstration of above technique, field trails were conducted at Sabarmati Terminal., Ahemdabad. However, the marker did not meet the requirements due to inconsistency in doping and tedious process of testing the samples.

Spectrace Technique:
M/s Rohm & HAAS have developed a new NDT for checking fuel adulteration. Based on successful demonstration, the same has been recommended for field trial at HPCL terminal at Vashi. The result of this trial reveals that chemical characteristics of the doped MS are in line with the BIS specifications and the marker responds to addition of adulterants in different proportions. The marker was also found to be stable. More trials with this technique are scheduled to be carried out in Delhi.

R&D marker system:
IOCL R&D has developed a chemical based marker system, which is to be field tried at Devenghunti terminal of IOC near Bangalore.
Study group of the Task force evaluated various type of marker system . Evaluation was done jointly by IOC R& D and BPCL R&D at IOC, R&D centre. Details of the evaluation are mentioned in Annexure-V

CPCB Working Group on Adulteration
Central Pollution control Board has constituted a Working Group to formulate fuel specifications for the year 2005 under the Inter- Ministerial Committee to formulate Auto Oil Programme for year 2005 constituted by MOEF. One of the terms of reference was to draw a strategy for monitoring the fuel quality at the petrol pumps to check adulteration.

MoPNG Task Force on Adulteration
Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has constituted a Task Force to examine the use of solvent, raffinate and slop in automobile fuel. The Task Force identified various possible fuel adulterants for gasoline and diesel (Table-3&4). The recommendations of this Task Force are:

» The chemicals/solvents, which are potential adulterants, are presently cheaper than gasoline and diesel. The prices of these solvents should be brought at par with conventional fuels to discourage adulteration.

» If prices cannot be increased for any reason, then the solvents should be included under the Solvent, Raffinate and Slop (Acquisition, Sale, Storage and Prevention of use in Automobile) Order, 2000. Any petroleum derivatives having a density 0.66 to 0.94 g/ml at 15 degrees centigrade and /or boiling range 35 to 380 degrees centigrade may be covered under the subject control order. The samples from the suspected stocks would be tested in any authorized laboratories for full BIS specifications compliance.

» The Task Force felt that return streams from petrochemical plants to the refineries may be getting diverted for adulteration, as such all return streams from petrochemicals after removal of necessary ingredient should be returned to the nearest refinery and the onus of return will be with the users only. Moreover, no slop is to be allowed to be market directly.

Anti-Adulteration Cell
Government of India has set up an Anti Adulteration Cell headed by a Director General. The functions of the Anti Adulteration Cell are: -

1. Prevention of adulteration and other malpractices in the sale of petroleum products.
2. To conduct inquiries into complaints against Dealer Selection Boards.
3. To act as a coordinating agency for oil companies and Central/State Governments departments in the matters related to adulteration of fuel.

For any complain /information regarding fuel adulteration customers can contact to anti- adulteration cell at numbers given in the following table:
Table 5: Contact numbers & E- mail addresses of four zones of anti-adulteration cell for launching complain against adulteration.







Director General




Jt. Director (HQ)





Dy Director
(A & F)


North region ( STD code-011)

Regional Director



Jt. Director



Sr. Dy. Director


Dy. Director


Dy. Director


West region ( STD code-022)

Regional Director




Dy. Director

South region ( STD code-044)

Regional Director




Jt. Director




Dy. Director


Dy. Director


East region ( STD code-033)

Regional Director



Dy. Director




Asstt. Director



Auto Fuel Policy Report

A Committee of Experts was constituted by the Government of India to lay down the road map for auto fuel policy in the country. Besides other issues, the Committee also recognized the problems of fuel adulteration and recommended the following:
v Expansion of the tank lorry locking system introduced in metro cities to other cities.

» Depending on the results of the pilot projects for the use of special markers to detect and prevent adulteration in petrol and diesel, a scheme for the use of these markers on commercial basis be implemented.
» Encouraging setting up of consumer pumps by the transport companies operating city public transport.
» Independent inspection and checks by agencies other than the oil companies.
» Setting up of an independent anti-adulteration cell and the joint inspection approach put in place in the NCT of Delhi under the directions of the Supreme Court has brought about improvements in fuel quality. Inspections by joint teams of anti-adulteration cell state civil supplies and State Pollution Control Boards in polluted cities should be taken up.
» Responsibility for dispensing the right quality of fuels should be made obligatory to the oil companies.