India's fuel sales soared in the first half of October with an across-the-board surge in transportation fuel demand on the back of the economic activity picking up as festival season kicked in, preliminary industry data showed.
Petrol and diesel sales jumped 22-26 per cent year-on-year while also rising month-on-month in the first half of October. Petrol sales soared 22.7 per cent to 1.28 million tonne during October 1-15 when compared to 1.05 million tonne of consumption in the same period last year.
Sales were 31 per cent higher than COVID-marred first half of October 2020 and 33.4 per cent more than pre-pandemic October 1-15, 2019. Demand was 1.3 per cent higher than the first half of September 2022.
Diesel, the most used fuel in the country, posted a near 27 per cent rise in sales in the first fortnight of October to 3.08 million tonne when compared to the same period last year.
Consumption was up 16 per cent over October 1-15, 2020 and 26.6 per cent higher than pre-COVID 2019. The fuel, which had seen a near 5 per cent drop in sales in August before a rebound in the following month, saw demand rise 6.9 per cent month-on-month.
Industry sources said the ending of monsoon rains in most parts of the country and a pick-up in agriculture season led to a rise in diesel demand.
Rains usually restrict mobility and demand from the farm sector, which uses diesel in irrigation pumps and trucking. Also, the festival season kicking in led to a pick-up in economic activity and a rise in demand.
Auto fuel sales had dipped in July and August owing to the monsoon and reduced demand. This dip had come after a surge in June that was supported by increased summer travel to colder areas of the country to escape from the heat and vacations during annual breaks at educational institutions.
As the aviation sector opened up, India's overall passenger traffic at airports inched closer to pre-COVID-19 levels. Accordingly, jet fuel (ATF) demand jumped 22.1 per cent to 264,00 tonne during the first half of October when compared to the same period last year.
It was 64 per cent higher than October 1-15, 2020 but 16.5 per cent lower than pre-COVID October 1-15, 2019. Month-on-month sales were marginally over 262,100 tonne consumption in September 1-15, 2022.
The sources said while domestic air travel is back to pre-COVID levels, international traffic is lagging because of continued restrictions in some countries. With strong economic growth of 7 per cent, India's oil demand has been rising steadily since the country eased pandemic lockdowns.
Cooking gas LPG sales were up 9.94 per cent year-on-year at 1.22 million tonne in the first half of October. LPG consumption was 5.3 per cent higher than in October 1-15, 2020 and 12.6 per cent more than in the same period of 2019. Month-on-month, the demand was up 0.29 per cent when compared to 1.223 million tonne of LPG consumption during September 1-15, 2022, the data showed.