Fuel demand shows signs of revival; petrol, diesel sales rise in May after easing lockdown restrictions

The drop in fuel sales in the first half of May is lower than the reduction seen during 1-15 April 2020.

Press Trust of India May 18, 2020 17:58:30 IST
Fuel demand shows signs of revival; petrol, diesel sales rise in May after easing lockdown restrictions

New Delhi: India's fuel consumption is recovering fast in May, with demand for diesel and petrol showing signs of revival after falling by a record pace in April due to the coronavirus -induced lockdown.

Fuel sales surged during the first half of May as compared with the same period last month, as vehicular traffic returned to roads following easing of some lockdown restrictions.

According to preliminary sales data of state-owned fuel retailers, diesel consumption soared 75 percent to 1.93 million tonnes in the first half of May as compared with the same period in April.

Petrol sales climbed 72 percent to 5,75,000 tonnes, while sales of jet fuel almost doubled to 39,000 tonnes.

However, consumption was lower than in the first half of May 2019.

Fuel demand shows signs of revival petrol diesel sales rise in May after easing lockdown restrictions

Representatiional image. Reuters

Sale of petrol was down 47.5 percent as compared with 1.1 million tonnes sold during 1-15 May 2019, while diesel consumption was 37.5 percent lower than 3.1 million tonnes last year.

Sale of ATF was down 87.5 percent as compared with 3,10,000 tonnes in the first half of May 2019, the data showed.

Cooking gas LPG was the only fuel that showed a 24 percent rise in consumption to 1.2 million tonnes during 1-15 May 2020 as compared with 9,65,000 tonnes in the first half of May 2019.

The demand is expected to pick up further as more restrictions were eased from Monday.

The drop in fuel sales in the first half of May is lower than the reduction seen during 1-15 April 2020.

Petrol sales by public sector firms were down 64 percent in the first half of April 2020, but ended the month with a 61 percent fall after some uptrend in the second half.

Similarly, diesel sales slumped 61 percent in the first half, but ended with 56.5 percent lower sales for the month.

Overall, petrol sales came in at around 8,70,000 tonnes in April, down from 2.23 million tonnes in the same month a year back. Diesel consumption was down to 2.84 million tonnes from 6.56 million tonnes in April 2019.

From Monday, more areas have been opened with work resuming at a lot of offices and factories.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown, beginning 25 March, shutting offices and factories, barring those involved in essential services.

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Also, flights were suspended, trains stopped plying, vehicles went off the road and cargo movement stopped as most people were asked to stay home to help check the spread of coronavirus .

The lockdown has since been extended thrice -- first to 3 May, then to 17 May and now to 31 May.

But the government has allowed inter-state movement of vehicles and allowed offices and industries to resume. Also, restrictions on e-commerce companies have been lifted, all of which will add to fuel consumption.

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