Fuel demand shows signs of revival; sales rise in May
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 per cent to 1.93 million tonnes in the first half of May as compared with the same period in April.
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Petrol sales climbed 72 per cent 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.
Sale of petrol was down 47.5 per cent as compared with 1.1 million tonnes sold during May 1-15, 2019, while diesel consumption was 37.5 per cent lower than 3.1 million tonnes last year.
Sale of ATF was down 87.5 per cent 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 per cent rise in consumption to 1.2 million tonnes during May 1-15, 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 April 1-15, 2020.
Petrol sales by public sector firms were down 64 per cent in the first half of April 2020, but ended the month with a 61 per cent fall after some uptrend in the second half.
Similarly, diesel sales slumped 61 per cent in the first half, but ended with 56.5 per cent 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 March 25, shutting offices and factories, barring those involved in essential services.
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 May 3, then to May 17 and now to May 31.
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.