Diesel sales rose above pre-Covid levels for the first time since February in the first 15 days of October, according to the sales data of state-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs).
Diesel sales by Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation rose by 8.8 per cent to 2,650 Thousand Metric Tonnes (TMT), while sales of petrol grew by 1.6 per cent to 982 TMT in the period. Diesel sales ordinarily account for about 40 per cent of total sales of petroleum products in India. Petrol sales recovered to above pre-Covid levels in September.
The sales of both diesel and petrol crashed by over 50 per cent in April as coronavirus-related restrictions drastically reduced the movement of people and goods. The recovery of diesel sales has been slower than that of petrol with an increasing number of people preferring personal mobility over public transport.
An official at an oil marketing company said the growth in diesel sales was likely due to a pick-up in industrial activity before the festive season and the restoration of some public transport services.
“There is a lot of pent-up demand for travel which may have helped boost the consumption of diesel,” the official noted. Executives at OMCs had previously said they expected that diesel consumption would recover to pre-Covid levels in November-December.
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