Petrol, diesel demand slumps 66% in April due to lockdown

PTI

Business, Market

The collapse of demand in the world's third-biggest consumer during April comes on the back of worst fuel sales in more than a decade

India's fuel sales drop 18 pc in March; petrol demand falls 16.3%. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: India's fuel consumption slumped by over 66 per cent in April as a nationwide lockdown halted economic activity and travel, which eviscerated demand.

Petrol and diesel demand is down 66 per cent in April, while aviation turbine fuel (ATF) consumption has collapsed by 90 per cent as most airlines have stopped flying, industry officials said.

India had consumed 2.4 million tonnes of petrol and 7.3 million tonnes of diesel in April 2019. As much as 6,45,000 tonnes of ATF was used in that month last year.

The collapse of demand in the world's third-biggest consumer during April comes on the back of worst fuel sales in more than a decade recorded in March 2020.

The country's petroleum product consumption fell 17.79 per cent to 16.08 million tonnes in March as diesel, petrol and ATF demand fell, according to official data released here.

Diesel, the most consumed fuel in the country, saw demand contract by 24.23 per cent to 5.65 million tonnes. This is the biggest fall in diesel consumption the country has recorded as most trucks went off-road and railways stopped plying trains.

Petrol sales dropped 16.37 per cent to 2.15 million tonnes in March as the 21-day nationwide lockdown enforced to prevent the spread of COVID-19 took most cars and two-wheelers off the road.

With flights grounded since mid-March, ATF consumption fell 32.4 per cent to 4,84,000 tonnes.

The only fuel that showed growth was LPG as households rushed to book refills for stocking during the three-week lockdown period.

LPG sales rose 1.9 per cent to 2.3 million tonnes in March.

This is the first estimate of total petroleum product consumption in the country. This includes sales by both public and private sector companies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a 21-day lockdown beginning March 25, shutting offices and factories, barring those involved in essential services.

Also, flights were suspended, trains stopped plying, vehicles went off the road and cargo movement stopped as most people were asked to stay home to help check the spread of coronavirus.

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