Diesel sales fall 5% in November 2020 after reaching pre-COVID levels in October

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A fuel pump in the Indian capital. Picute/IAC

India’s diesel sales fell 5 per cent in the first half of November when compared with the previous year, industry data showed, after rising for the first time in eight months in October. Sale of diesel, the most used fuel in the country, was, however, 7 per cent higher month-on-month.

Between November 1 and 15, diesel consumption was 2.86 million tonnes, down from 3.01 million tonnes in the same period a year back. It was, however, higher than the 2.65 million tonnes demand during the first half of October.

The onset of the festive season has fuelled a rise in consumption but public transport is not back to normal levels yet as schools and educational institutions continue to remain shut in most parts of the country.

Petrol sales rose marginally to 1.03 million tonnes from 1.02 million tonnes, while cooking gas (LPG) sales for the first time this year fell by 2 per cent to 1.07 million tonnes. Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) sales fell 53 per cent year-on-year to 155,000 tonnes but were 1.3 per cent higher month-on-month.

The total demand for petroleum products rose 2.5 per cent in October to reach 17.77 million tonnes. While petrol had reached pre-COVID levels in September itself, diesel consumption had returned to normal last month.

Diesel demand spurted 7.4 per cent year-on-year to 6.5 million tonnes while petrol sales were up 4.5 per cent at 2.54 million tonnes. The growth in diesel consumption was the highest in a year. Industry sources said month-on-month diesel sales has risen in November, which is a good sign.

Fuel demand had slumped by 49 per cent in April after a nationwide lockdown, imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, shut industries and took most vehicles off-road. The 69-day nationwide lockdown was followed by local and state-level restrictions. Restrictions have eased slowly and in phases, and local restrictions in containment zones remain.

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