India’s fuel consumption showed flattish growth in December 2021 ahead of fresh restrictions kicking in to control the surge of a new variant of coronavirus that is likely to further dampen demand, according to official data released on Tuesday.
Total petroleum product consumption in December 2021 stood at 18.43 million tonnes, compared with 18.36 million tonnes in the same month last year. This after a rise in demand for transport fuel was negated by a fall in industrial fuel.
The consumption was 7.6 per cent higher month-on-month but was still 2.7 per cent lower than pre-COVID-19 levels of 2019, according to the data released by the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC).
As the economy continued to rebound from the deep impact of the second wave, transport fuel demand rose in December.
Diesel, the most used fuel in the country accounting for almost 40 per cent of all petroleum product consumption, rose 1.5 per cent year-on-year to 7.305 million tonnes and was near pre-COVID-19 demand of 7.387 million tonnes in December 2019.
Petrol sales, which crossed the pre-COVID-19 level a few months ago, climbed four per cent to 2.81 million tonnes in December 2021. The demand for fuel, most used in cars and two-wheelers, stood at 2.47 million tonnes in December 2019.
Increased travel during the holiday season is said to have contributed to the rise.
With increased air travel, aviation turbine fuel (ATF) posted a 29 per cent growth in consumption to 5,52,000 tonnes but it was lower than 7,29,000 tonnes
Cooking gas LPG consumption fell almost two per cent to 2.4 million tonnes. This is largely because consumption in December 2020 was higher on the back of the free cylinders that the government gave to the poor to tide over the hardships of the pandemic.
Yet, the demand in December 2020 was higher than the pre-COVID-19 level as LPG sales in December 2019 was 2.35 million tonnes, the data showed.
Consumption of naphtha, which is used as a fuel in industries, fell two per cent to 1.18 million tonnes, while petcoke demand fell 14.8 per cent. The sale of bitumen, used in road construction, was down 19 per cent to 6,95,000 tonnes.