New Delhi: India’s fuel demand rebounded in June after slumping to a nine-month low in the previous month as restrictions to curb the spread of the pandemic were eased, helping economic activity and mobility to pick up.
Fuel consumption rose 1.5 per cent to 16.33 million tonnes in June from a year earlier and by 8 per cent over May 2021, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas showed.
Petrol sales rose 5.6 per cent year-on-year to 2.4 million tonnes in June. It was up 21 per cent from May sales of 1.99 million tonnes.
Diesel – the most used fuel in the country – rose 12 per cent from May to 6.2 million tonnes, but was down 1.5 per cent from June 2020 and 18.8 per cent from June 2019.
This is the first monthly increase since March.
Fuel demand had recovered to near-normal levels in March before the onset of the second wave of COVID-19 infections led to the re-imposition of lockdowns in different states, stalling mobility and muting economic activity.
Consumption in May slumped to its lowest since August last year amid lockdowns and restrictions in several states.
Fuel demand showed signs of resurgence in June after restrictions began to be eased and the economy gathered pace.
With COVID case addition continuing to decline and vaccination pace picking up, state governments have continued to reopen, though some exceptions such as Maharashtra exist.
The then Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had last month stated that India’s fuel demand would recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021.
“We are confident by the end of this calendar year we will be in a position to restore our original (pre-COVID) consumption behaviour,” Pradhan said.
Consumption of LPG, the only fuel which showed growth even during the first lockdown because of free supplies by the government to the poor, rose 9.7 per cent year on year to 2.26 million tonnes. It was up 26.3 per cent over June 2019.
With airlines yet to resume full-scale operations because of travel restrictions around the globe, jet fuel sales at 2,58,000 tonnes was up 16.2 per cent year on year but 61.7 per cent lower than June of 2019.
Naphtha sales dropped by about 3.1 per cent to 1.19 million tonnes while sale of bitumen – used for making roads, were down 32 per cent at 5,09,000 tonnes. Fuel oil consumption rose 1.9 per cent to 5,33,000 tonnes.