New Delhi: Petrol and diesel sales fell in the first half of June as the arrival of monsoon cut demand in the agri sector and reduced vehicular movement, preliminary industry data showed. Demand for diesel, the most consumed fuel in the country accounting for about two-fifths of the demand, fell by 6.7 percent to 3.43 million tonne in June 1-15 compared to the year-ago period.
Sales of diesel had soared by 6.7 percent and 9.3 percent in April and May, respectively as agriculture demand picked up and cars yanked up air-conditioning to beat summer heat. Month-on-month sales were up by 3.4 percent when compared with 3.31 million tonne of diesel consumed in May 1-15. Petrol sales dropped by 5.7 percent to 1.3 million tonne during the first half of June 2023 when compared with the same period last year. Sales were down by 3.8 percent on month-on-month, the data showed.
Petrol and diesel sales had been on the rise since the second half of March on the back of a pick-up in industrial and agriculture activity. But the arrival of monsoon has cooled temperatures and reduced demand for running diesel gensets to irrigate fields as well as cut down consumption in tractors and trucks in the first half of June.
Consumption of petrol during June 1 to 15 was 44.2 percent more than COVID-marred June 2021 and 14.6 percent more than pre-pandemic June 1-15, 2019. Diesel consumption was up 38 percent over June 1-15, 2021 and 8.8 percent higher than in the first half of June 2019. With the continued opening of the aviation sector, India's overall passenger traffic at airports inched closer to pre-COVID levels.
Reflecting the trend, jet fuel (ATF) demand rose by 2.6 percent to 2,90,000 tonne during June 1 to 15 when compared to the same period last year. It was 148 percent higher than in the first half of June 2021 but 6.8 percent lower than pre-Covid June 1-15, 2019. On month-on-month basis, sales fell by 3.9 percent when compared with 3,01,900 tonne in May 1-15, 2023.
The Indian economy has gained pace with a pick-up in government and private capital spending. Manufacturing too has picked up while the services sector has been robust. The country's oil demand during the last few months was supported by strong industrial activity, industry officials said.
Cooking gas LPG sales were down by 1.3 percent on year-on-year basis to 1.14 million tonne in June 1-15. LPG consumption was 3.3 percent higher than in June 2021 and 26.7 percent more than pre-COVID June 1-15, 2019.
On month-on-month basis, the demand fell 6.2 percent compared to 1.22 million tonne of LPG consumption during the first half of May, the data showed.