Lockdown effect: Diesel sales in August 14% lower than in July

Consumption of diesel in the first 26 days of August was 14.2% lower than the levels recorded in the same period in July, signaling that there – imposition of lockdown curbs in many areas has slowed industrial and commercial consumption.

While rural agricultural demand is now mainly driving diesel consumption, floods in Bihar and the northeastern states has moderated the speed of demand recovery. Muted sales of commercial vehicles is also not letting diesel sales rise.

On a year-on-year basis, diesel consumption fell 22.4% to 4 million tonne (mt) in the 26 days of August. Diesel sales alone contribute to around 40% of total consumption of petroleum products in India. The sales data for August is from retail outlets of state-run oil marketing companies, which run about 90% petrol pumps in India.

According to provisional data by the government’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), consumption of petroleum products fell 22.5% y-o-y to 56.4 mt in the April-July period. Sales of LPG was the only major product to register growth in the lockdown period, due to a government scheme of free cylinder refills for poor households. But sources said LPG sales dipped 3% y-o-y during August 1-26.