High petrol price in India has already caused a sharp decline in petrol car sales. Fuel has become very precious. And one is all the more concerned about fuel economy. There is one area that remains neglected in this field and due to that fuel consumption of vehicles increases unnecessarily. I am referring to the poor road condition in this country.
Every week I use to pay a visit to a relative of mine who lives about 14 kilo meters away from my place. I usually go in my car which runs on petrol. The stretch of these 14 kilo meters is formed by parts of three roads. The first 10 kilo meters are part of a State High Way. The next 2 kilo meters are part of a smaller road. The last 2 kilo meter part is through a still smaller road.
The condition of the State High Way part is comparatively better, though not up to the mark. The second and last part comprising two kilo meters each usually are in a pathetic condition. Last time when I made that trip, the last two kilo meter stretch was unbearable. Every inch of the road was filled with pot holes flooded with rain water. I had to cover the entire two kilo meters on second gear. Running on the second gear wastes a lot of fuel. This is the condition of many roads in this country.
Roads in India in general (of course there are exemptions) are usually in a pathetic condition. We don’t add much importance to it as we have become used to this condition- or is it that we don’t know what roads should be like?
A shocking report came to light recently- The country was losing 87,500 crore or 875 billion Rupees yearly due to poor road condition and unscientific tolling systems. It is to be remembered that the government is spending 1.38 lakh crore (1380 billion) Rupees on fuel subsidy. Immediate attention should be given to improve the condition of roads in order to check this wastage of money.
A study about road user cost revealed some serious conclusions about the economic losses due to the poor road condition in this country. When the roughness of road surface increases from 3000 (for asphaltic surface) to 1500 (for gravel surface) mm per kilometer, fuel consumption of a truck will increase by 26%. If the average speed falls from 45 kph to 20 kph, the fuel consumption may increase by 56%. We know that poor road condition reduces the speed of vehicles very much. So, we can imagine the wastage of fuel due to poorly maintained roads.
It is high time that the authorities understand this fact and give more importance to maintaining the roads in good condition. It will save a lot of money on fuel cost.
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