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Diesel sales dip 7.5 per cent in India. And there’s a cheery, festive reason why


India’s diesel consumption slumped by 7.5 per cent in November on a fall in demand in the transportation sector where some took Diwali break, preliminary data of state-owned firms showed on Friday.

Diesel price
File photo used for representational purpose. (REUTERS)

Diesel consumption dropped to 6.78 million tonnes in November from 7.33 million tonnes a year back. Industry officials said this was largely because some truckers take Diwali break to visit their homes and the demand is largely going to come back this month.

Diesel is India’s most consumed fuel, accounting for almost 40 per cent of all petroleum product consumption. Transport sector accounts for 70 per cent of all diesel sales in the country.

Petrol sales by three state-owned fuel retailers rose 7.5 per cent to 2.86 million tonnes on increased personal vehicle movement during the festive season.

Fuel consumption has been on a see-saw over the last couple of months.

Petrol demand had fallen 9 per cent year-on-year in the first half of October and diesel sales by 3.2 per cent but the start of Navratri/Durga Puja celebration helped reverse the trend. Diesel demand fell 12.1 per cent in the first half of November and recovered a bit in the second half.

Month-on-month diesel sales however were up 3.6 per cent when compared with 6.5 million tonnes in October.

Diesel sales typically fall in monsoon months as rains lower demand in the agriculture sector which uses the fuel for irrigation, harvesting and transportation. Also, rains slow vehicular movements.

This led to a fall in diesel consumption in the last three months. And once the monsoon ended, consumption rose month-on-month.

Consumption of diesel had soared 6.7 per cent and 9.3 per cent in April and May, respectively, as agriculture demand picked up and cars yanked up air-conditioning to beat the summer heat. It started to taper in the second half of June after the monsoon set in. The fall reversed in October but sales again fell in November.

Consumption of petrol during November was 20.1 per cent more than in the Covid-19-marred November 2021 and 25 per cent more than in pre-pandemic November 2019. Diesel consumption was up 18.1 per cent over November 2021 and 1.2 per cent compared to November 2019.

Jet fuel (ATF) sales rose 6.1 per cent year-on-year to 620,000 tonnes in November. But this was 7.5 per cent lower than in November 2019 primarily because not all international flights have resumed after the pandemic. ATF consumption was 31.6 per cent more than in November 2021, but lower than 670,200 tonnes used in pre-COVID November 2019.

Month-on-month jet fuel sales were 1.4 per cent higher compared to 611,300 tonnes in October 2023. Cooking gas LPG sales were down 0.9 per cent year-on-year at 2.57 million tonnes in November. LPG consumption was 6.9 per cent higher than in November 2021 and 14 per cent more than in pre-COVID November 2019.

Month-on-month, LPG demand rose 2 per cent against 2.52 million tonnes of LPG consumption during October, the data showed.

First Published Date: 01 Dec 2023, 15:32 PM IST

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