Indias fuel The recovery in demand continued in August as sales of the country’s most widely used fuel, diesel, rose to pre-Covid levels on the easing of pandemic-related restrictions, it emerged on Monday. Gasoline sales are already above pre-Covid levels and diesel is 8% short.
State fuel retailers sold 0.98 million tons of gasoline in the first half of August, 9.4 percent more than a year earlier. It was 3.7 percent higher than pre-Covid gasoline sales of 0.95 million tons in August 1-15, 2019. Sales of diesel – the most widely used fuel in the country – rose 18.5% to 2.11 million tons in the period of August 1-15, 2021 compared to the previous year, but was 7.9 percent lower than in August 2019.
Last month, diesel consumption was 11 percent below pre-Covid levels. This is the third month in a row that consumption has risen since March. Fuel demand had recovered to near-normal levels in March before the onset of the second wave of COVID-19 infections led to the re-imposition of lockdowns in several states, causing mobility to falter and dampening economic activity.
Consumption fell to its lowest level since August last year in May, amid lockdowns and restrictions in several states. Fuel demand showed signs of recovery in June after restrictions began to ease and the economy gained momentum. On July 30, SM Vaidya, chairman of India’s largest oil company IOC, had stated that gasoline consumption has risen above pre-Covid levels as people prefer personal transportation over public transportation.
Diesel sales, he said, would likely return to pre-pandemic levels by Diwali in November if a third wave of Covid infections does not lead to a reset of the lockdown. ATF consumption, which had seen the sharpest drop when air traffic was curtailed from March 2020, is likely to return to normal by the end of the current fiscal year in March, he said.
The consumption of LPG, the only fuel to grow even during the first lockdown thanks to free government supplies to the poor, rose 6.5 percent year-on-year to 1.06 million tons in August 1-15. However, it was 2.5 percent lower than in August 2019. With airlines yet to resume full operations due to travel restrictions around the world, aviation fuel sales were up 47.5% year over year at 165,600 tons, but 45.3. percent lower than in August last year. 2019.
Oil demand in India was down 0.5 million barrels per day in 2020, led by a sharp weakening of transport fuel, mainly in April-June 2020. Longer lockdown measures, coupled with mobility restrictions, reduced demand for oil products. . Gasoline and jet fuel recorded historic declines compared to the same period in 2019. Diesel declined, in line with weakness in industrial activity, as well as in road construction and agriculture.
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Story first published: Monday, August 16, 2021, 5:38 PM [IST]