The fuel sales in the country have pummelled in April as the second wave of coronavirus has led to local restrictions, limiting the use of vehicles and the fuel demand in the country.
The overall fuel demand in the country is down by about 7 per cent at the end of April from pre-Covid level of April 2019, Arun Singh, Director for Marketing and Refineries at Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), was quoted as saying by PTI.
Sales of petrol fell to 2.14 million tonnes in April, the lowest since August, as per the preliminary data of state-owned fuel retailers. Petrol sales in April were 6.3 per cent lower than March 2021 and 4.1 per cent lower than April of 2019. Sale of diesel fell to 5.9 million tonnes in April 2021, down 1.7 per cent from the previous month and 9.9 per cent from April of 2019.
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The date comparison has been done with the figures of April 2019 and not April 2020 because in the year-ago period, the country was under the world's severest lockdowns which bough to halt almost all economic activities. In April 2020, the country's fuel sales had halved and thus comparing last month's sale to April of 2020 will not be a correct interpretation. In the period being talked about, sale of petrol was 872,000 tonnes while that of diesel was 2.84 million tonnes.
The hit to the fuel sales come when the state retailers had start seeing a demand rebound. "We were near pre-Covid level in March 2021, but new restrictions due to the second Covid-19 wave has temporarily reduced demand, equivalent to about 10 per cent of March 2021 demand for both personal mobility and industrial goods movement," Singh said.
The demand is expected to pick up again in June, when the second wave of coronavirus is expected to weaken. Though the fuels sales could have been worse in April, elections in some states meant increased use of vehicles for campaigning. In May, fuel demand is expected to slump further due to various local restrictions in place to restrict the spread of the coronavirus.