Gasoline and diesel sales recover in May


India’s gasoline and diesel consumption surged in May as a pick-up in economic activity and the start of the harvesting season supported a return in demand, preliminary industry data showed on Monday.

Gasoline sales by state-owned fuel distributors, which control around 90% of the market, were 1.28 million tons from May 1-15, up 59.7% from a year earlier and 16.3% from the same period in 2019, as the data showed.

Consumption was 13.9% higher than the 1.12 million tons in the previous month.

Diesel, the country’s most-used fuel, saw sales jump 37.8% year-on-year to 3.05 million tons in the first half of May. However, this was 1.5% less than the sale in 2019. It was 1.8% higher than the consumption of 2.99 million tons from April 1-15 this year.

Industry sources said consumption was higher in May as demand returned from the previous month’s high prices and demand was subdued. The start of the harvest season also supported demand.

Another factor was the low base effect. In April consumption fell by £10 a liter after a pause of more than four months due to a rise in petrol and diesel prices.

Cooking gas, whose prices were raised by ₹50 per bottle in March and May 7th, saw a drop in consumption due to the price increase. Sales of 1.05 million tons of LPG in the period May 1-15 were 5.4% lower than last year. It was 12% lower than the same period in May 2020 but 9.4% higher than 2019.

LPG demand rose 2.8% month-on-month from 1.02 million tons of sales in the first half of April 2022.

Jet fuel (ATF) sales rose 83.5% from 251,400 tons to 5,00,400 tons from May 1-15, but were 18.7% below pre-COVID levels in 2019. They were 7.7, however % higher than sales in the first half of April 2022.

With the full opening of air travel, ATF sales should continue to pick up.

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