New Delhi: India’s petrol and diesel sales fell in the first fortnight of January as the third wave of the pandemic starts to bite the economy as reflected in a dip in workplace mobility and airline traffic.
The sale of diesel, which accounts for about 40 percent of India’s overall fuel consumption and mirrors industrial activity, fell 14.1 percent to 2.47 million tonnes during January 1-15 when compared with the same period in December and 4.99 percent from a year ago, preliminary data from state fuel retailers showed.
Diesel sales were down nearly 8 percent over the January 2020 period.
The rapid spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus has led to the imposition of local restrictions in several parts of the country, hurting truck movements.
Petrol sales during January 1-15 at 9,64,380 tonne were 13.81 percent lower than the first fortnight of December and 2.82 percent lower than a year-ago period, the data showed.
It however was 5.66 percent higher than January 2020 sales and continued to stay above pre-COVID-19 levels as people continued to prefer using personal vehicles over public transport for safety reasons.
Jet fuel sales fell 13 percent to 2,08,980 tonne during the first half of January when compared with the month-ago figure but were 7.34 percent higher year-on-year. It was 38.2 percent lower than January 2020 numbers.
Cooking gas LPG sales rose 4.85 percent month-on-month and 9.47 percent year-on-year to 1.28 million tonnes. This was 15.25 percent higher than January 2020, the data showed.
LPG sales have been higher on the back of free cylinders that the government distributed to mitigate the fallout of COVID on the poor.