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India begins producing 'reference' fuel

  • Category
  • Published
    3rd Nov, 2023


India has joined the League of Nations producing 'reference' petrol and diesel, specialized fuels used for testing automobiles.

Need to produce reference fuel for India:

  • For decades, India has relied on imports to meet the demand for these specialised fuels.
  • Now, the Indian Oil Corporation’s Paradip refinery in Odisha will produce 'reference' grade petrol and its Panipat unit in Haryana will produce such quality diesel.
  • Shifting from dependence on imports and this initiative is in line with the government's objective of becoming Aatmanirbhar has started producing the fuel at its refineries,

What are reference fuels?

  • Reference fuels’ (gasoline and diesel) are premium high-value products, used for calibration and testing of vehicles by auto OEMs and organizations involved in testing and certification in the automotive field.
  • For vehicle testing purposes, the fuel has to be of a higher grade than regular or premium petrol and diesel.
  • The host of specifications -- from Cetane number to flash point, viscosity, sulphur and water content, hydrogen purity and acid number -- are listed under government regulations, such fuels are referred to as 'reference' petrol/diesel.

How fuels differ?

  • The biggest difference between the normal and premium fuel lies in the octane number.
  • The regular fuel has an octane number of 87, but premium fuel has an octane number of 91.
  • Reference grade fuel comes with a 97 octane number.

The octane number is a unit to measure the ignition quality of petrol or diesel.


  • These reference fuels are used for emission testing of vehicles equipped with spark ignition engines.

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