Petrol and diesel sales in the country fell in July over the previous month as the onset of monsoon chipped away demand in some sectors and restricted mobility, preliminary industry data showed.
Diesel, the most widely used fuel in the country, saw consumption drop 13.1 per cent to 6.44 million tonnes from 7.39 million tonnes of demand in June.
The arrival and intensity of monsoon weigh heavily on diesel demand in the country and consumption traditionally is lower in July-September than in April-June. Rains restrict mobility and demand from the farm sector, which uses diesel in irrigation pumps and trucking, also drops with the onset of rains.
Diesel demand in July was, however, 17.1 per cent higher year-on-year, supported by strong economic growth and a relatively low baseline for the same period in 2021 when the second wave of COVID-19 had impacted the economy.
Consumption of diesel was 32.4 per cent higher than the 4.84 million tonnes demand during July 2020 and 5 per cent more than the pre-COVID sale of 6.11 million tonnes in July 2019, the data showed.
Petrol sales fell 5 per cent to 2.66 million tonnes in July when compared to 2.8 million tonnes of consumption in the previous month.
The consumption was, however, 12.2 per cent higher than in July 2021 and 31.2 per cent more than the same month in 2020. It was 16.3 per cent more than pre-COVID July 2019.
Auto fuel demand in June was supported by a surge in summer travel to colder areas of the country to escape from the heat and vacations during annual breaks at educational institutions.
As the aviation sector opens up, India’s overall passenger traffic (both domestic and international) at airports inched closer to pre-COVID-19 levels.
Accordingly, jet fuel (ATF) demand soared by 79 per cent to 5,33,600 tonnes during July when compared year-on-year. It was 137.4 per cent higher than July 2020 but 14.1 per cent lower than pre-COVID July 2019. Month-on-month, sales fell 1.07 per cent.
With strong economic growth of 7.1 per cent, India’s oil demand has been rising steadily since the country eased pandemic lockdowns.
Cooking gas LPG sales were up 4.14 per cent year-on-year at 2.46 million tonnes in July. This despite a Rs 50 per cylinder hike in prices.
LPG consumption was 8.4 per cent higher than in July 2020 and 11.9 per cent more than in July 2019.
Month-on-month too, the demand was up 8.7 per cent when compared to 2.26 million tonnes of LPG consumption during June, the data showed.