India's petrol and diesel consumption jumped in May as pick up in the economic activity, as well as the start of the harvesting season, aided the return of demand, a preliminary industry data showed on Monday.
Petrol sales grew 14 per cent during the first half of May when compared with the same period in the preceding month, while diesel demand rose 1.8 per cent. Cooking gas LPG, which last month saw consumption declining because of high prices, posted a 2.8 per cent rise in sales during May 1-15.
Petrol sales by state-owned fuel retailers, which control roughly 90 per cent of the market, at 1.28 million tonnes during May 1-15 were 59.7 per cent higher than the same period last year and 16.3 per cent higher than the period in 2019, preliminary industry data showed.
The consumption was 13.9 per cent more than the 1.12 million tonnes of sales in the first half of April 2022.
Diesel, the most-used fuel in the country, saw sales jumping 37.8 per cent year-on-year to 3.05 million tonnes in the first half of May. This was, however, 1.5 per cent lower than sales in April 2019. It was 1.8 per cent higher than 2.99 million tonnes of consumption during April 1-15 this year.
Industry sources said consumption in May is higher because of demand returning after high prices in the previous month cut demand. Also aiding the demand was the start of the harvesting season.
Another factor was the low base effect. April saw consumption drop due to a Rs 10 per litre hike in petrol and diesel prices after an over four-month hiatus.
Cooking gas, whose prices were hiked by Rs 50 per cylinder on March 2022 and on May 7 each, too saw a dent in consumption because of the rate increase. Sales of 1.05 million tonnes of LPG during May 1-15 was 5.4 per cent lower when compared to the year-ago period. It was 12 per cent lower than the same period of May 2020 but 9.4 per cent higher than 2019.
Month-on-month LPG demand was up 2.8 per cent when compared with 1.02 million tonnes sales in the first half of April 2022.
Jet fuel (ATF) sales rose 83.5 per cent to 500,400 tonnes from May 1-15 to 251,400 tonnes but was 18.7 per cent less than pre-Covid-19 levels of 2019. They were, however, 7.7 per cent more than the sales in the first half of April 2022.
ATF sales are expected to continue to pick up with the complete opening up of air travel.