The drivers of sustained use of liquified petroleum gas in India

Abstract

Ninety-five per cent of Indian households now have access to liquified petroleum gas (LPG), with 80 million acquiring it under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) since 2016. Still, having a connection is not enough to eliminate household air pollution. Studying panel data from rural households in six major states from 2014–2015 and 2018, we assess the determinants of cooking energy transition from solid fuels to LPG. We find that PMUY beneficiaries have much lower odds of using LPG as the primary or exclusive fuel compared with general customers, irrespective of their economic status. Village-level penetration of LPG as a primary fuel and the years of LPG use positively influence its sustained use, while ease of access to freely available biomass and reliance on uncertain and irregular income sources hinder LPG use. The findings highlight the need to interlace cooking fuel policies with rural development, to enable a complete transition towards cleaner cooking fuels.

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Fig. 1: Distribution of LPG-use categories among LPG households in 2018.
Fig. 2: Household-level shifts in fuel stacking from 2015 to 2018 in the panel subset.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study (both of panel and cross-sectional analysis) are made available through Figshare at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.9810170.

Code availability

The Stata.do files that format, clean and analyse the merged and appended datasets are available through Figshare at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.9810167, while the R scripts that produce the figures are available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.11838963. Information on unique identifiers between the datasets is available in the Stata.do file.

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Acknowledgements

The Council on Energy, Environment and Water supported time spent by S.M., A.J. and S.T. on this research. The data collection was supported by the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation and the National University of Singapore. C.F.G. is supported by the United States National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences grant no. T32 ES007322.

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A.J. conceptualized the study and led the design of the work. A.J., S.T. and S.M. contributed to the collection of data. S.M. and A.J. led the data analysis, with input from all team members. S.T. led the interpretation of results and the writing of the manuscript, with input from all team members. C.F.G. contributed to writing the manuscript, led reviewing of the literature and designed the figures. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript. Please direct any comments or requests for data used in the figures or analysis to S.M. (sunil.mani@ceew.in).

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Correspondence to Sunil Mani or Saurabh Tripathi.

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Supplementary Tables 1–18, Fig. 1, Notes 1–3 and refs 1–7.

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Mani, S., Jain, A., Tripathi, S. et al. The drivers of sustained use of liquified petroleum gas in India. Nat Energy 5, 450–457 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-020-0596-7

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