Diesel consumption last month remained below pre-Covid levels and down 3 per cent lower than the year-ago levels, while that of petrol grew by 8.7 per cent, compared to December 2019, according to the sales data from state-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation.
A nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 in March and restrictions on the movement of people and goods in subsequent months led to a sharp decline in the consumption of petroleum products across the country. Diesel consumption, which accounts for around 40 per cent of total fuel consumption in the country, is considered a key indicator of economic activity.
Diesel sales for the three state-owned OMCs fell to 6,354 thousand metric tonnes (TMT) in December 2020 from 6,557 TMT a year ago. Petrol sales during the period rose to 2,435 TMT from 2,240 TMT in December 2019. In November 2020, diesel sales were down by 7 per cent year-on-year and petrol sales had grown 4.8 per cent y-o-y. Petrol sales have been above pre-Covid levels since September 2020, with a growing preference for the use of private transport boosting petrol sales.
Industry sources noted that lower usage of public transport was behind lower diesel consumption and that industrial demand and the demand from the logistics sector had reached pre-Covid levels.
LPG sales grew by 7.6 per cent last month, while the sales of aviation turbine fuel remained 43 per cent below the year-ago levels, with airlines operating at well below maximum capacity and domestic air passenger traffic still remaining around 50 per cent below pre-Covid levels.
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