NEW DELHI: The construction of Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE), which has stopped the entry of large number of polluting trucks to Delhi, has the potential to avoid 15.3 lakh tonnes of CO2 emission in 20 years and similarly, the Delhi-Meerut Expressway has potential to prevent nearly 2.2 lakh tonnes of CO2 emission, according to a recent study by Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).The report titled “Assessment of Avoided CO2 Emissions during Construction and Operation of National Highways” has also estimated that the upcoming Delhi-Dehradun Expressway would help avoid 20.6 lakh tonnes of CO2 emission. In the case of the expanded Delhi-Agra highway, the study has estimated avoidance of 6.4 lakh tonnes of CO2 as well.It also said that at the national level, the expansion of national highways (NHs) and construction of greenfield expressways in the past nine years has the potential to avoid over 32 million tonnes (MTs) of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission annually and in 20 years’ time frame, this avoidance of emission is pegged around 643 MTs. The assessment has been done using the life cycle analysis of projects, taking into account both the construction period and operation phase of the NHs and expressways, including the loss of forest area and trees outside forests. The estimated avoidance of CO2 emission has been arrived at considering different factors, including how the new and improved NHs, replacing congested and often circuitous routes, can considerably reduce fuel consumption and impact of avenue plantations and compensatory afforestation.According to the report, the expansion and construction of the NHs and expressways have huge impact on fuel consumption as vehicles spend less time in congested traffic and thereby save both diesel and petrol. Because of the EPE, the saving of diesel has been estimated at 575 MTs in 20 years while the saving of petrol would be around 4 MTs. The 135-km EPE has helped in diverting large number of trucks, which earlier had to pass through Delhi and therefore spent more time on the road. On the contrary, in the case of Delhi-Meerut Expressway, the saving of petrol is estimated to be almost nine times more than saving of diesel. The report has estimated the diesel saving at 9 MTs compared to saving of 82 MTs of petrol. This is because the share of private vehicles is more on this stretch. The expert agencies collected data of 20 highway stretches – five greenfield and 15 brownfield stretches – including the EPE, Delhi-Meerut, Delhi-Dehradun and Ahmedabad-Vadodara expressways besides Delhi-Agra, Panipat-Jalandhar and Pune-Solapur highways.As per the report, in the case of these 20 projects, it is estimated that the total fuel consumption would be about 41.2 billion litres in the 20-year period. “This amount of consumption is less by 19% or 9.8 billion litres of fuel is saved in the improvement case as compared to the business as usual (BAU) case,” the report said. It added that in the total fuel savings, the share of petrol will be about 7% and the rest of diesel. The major savings will be 53% and 23% by medium and heavy commercial vehicles, respectively.