Diesel sales of state-owned fuel retailers in October at 5.86 million tonnes were 1.3 per cent higher than the same month in 2019, preliminary sales data showed.
India’s diesel sales in October climbed back to above pre-COVID levels for only the second time since the pandemic, as increased industrial activity ahead of the festival season spurred demand for the fuel. Diesel sales of state-owned fuel retailers in October at 5.86 million tonnes were 1.3 per cent higher than the same month in 2019, preliminary sales data showed.
The last time diesel sales were at pre-pandemic levels was October 2020. But the October 2021 sales are 5.08 per cent lower than the same month last year. Diesel accounts for 40 per cent of India’s total oil product use.
Petrol, whose consumption had reached pre-pandemic levels earlier this year, saw a near 4 per cent rise in sales at 2.48 million tonnes from a year earlier, the data showed.
Fuel demand had recovered to near-normal levels in March before the onset of the second wave of COVID-19 infections that led to the reimposition of lockdown in different states, stalling mobility and muting economic activity.
Jet fuel, however, continued to lag as aviation rebounded at a slower pace. At 4,34,600 tonnes sales in October, it is 34 per cent lower than pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
ATF consumption, which had seen the most severe fall as air travel was restricted beginning March 2020, is likely to return to normal by the end of the current fiscal year in March, an industry official said.
India’s oil demand had dropped by 0.5 million barrels per day in 2020, led by a steep weakening in transportation fuel, mainly in April-June 2020. Cooking gas LPG sales were up 6 per cent at 2.5 million tonnes.