Petrol sales up 5.7%, Diesel down 1.5% in the first fortnight of September
The demand for diesel stayed weak while petrol continued its solid recovery in the first fortnight of September.
Diesel sales in the first half of September were 1.5% less than in the same period last year and nearly 7% below that of September 2019, as per preliminary sales data from state-run oil companies, which control about 90% of the fuel retail market. Consumption of petrol surged 5.7% year on year and 8.3% above the pre-Covid level of 2019.
Diesel, which makes up about 40% of all refined fuels in the country, is considered a broad indicator of economic activity in the country. A scrawny recovery in diesel consumption while other refined fuels get rapidly absorbed in the market could lead to storage problems and may require calibration of refinery runs. This has prompted domestic companies to actively seek export markets for diesel.
Industry executives are hopeful that further easing of Covid restrictions can help boost diesel sales. “The primary reason for diesel struggle is the reduced bus transport as people have partly shifted to largely petrol-driven cars and bikes,” said an industry executive. Mass transport hasn’t been adequately available due to Covid restrictions and people tend to prefer personal vehicles due to the fear of the virus. The executive also pointed towards the absence of school and college buses. An extended monsoon has also hurt the transport sector but an end of the rainy season over the next two weeks may help boost diesel consumption.
Jet fuel has been another problem child for refiners as international travels remain deeply restricted due to the pandemic.
The Economic Times 17-09-2021