India's fuel demand soared almost 11 percent in August when compared with the same month last year but lower than the previous month as monsoon rains slowed mobility and consumption. Fuel consumption totaled 16 million tonnes in August, up from 14.42 million tonnes a year back but lower than 16.83 million tonnes in July 2021, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPA) of the Oil Ministry showed.
Sales of petrol, which had reached pre-Covid levels a couple of months back, rose 13 percent year-on-year to 2.69 million tonnes and was up 2.5 percent over July 2021.
Consumption of diesel - the most used fuel in the country - jumped 15.6 percent to 5.6 million tonnes from a year earlier but fell 8.7 percent from the previous month as monsoon rains stalled the mobility of trucks.
Cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sales increased 2.4 percent to 2.3 million tonnes, while naphtha sales fell 5.1 percent to 1.02 million tonnes. LPG sales fell 1.6 percent month-on-month.
Sales of bitumen, used for making roads, were 3.1 percent up, while fuel oil use edged up 8 percent in August.
Naphtha demand at 1.02 million tonnes was 5 percent lower than a year back and 16 percent lower than July 2021.
Jet fuel or ATF soared 24 percent to 318,000 tonnes in August but was almost equal to that in the previous month.
Diesel and ATF consumption is below pre-Covid levels while petrol and LPG sales are above pre-pandemic levels.
Fuel demand had recovered to near-normal levels in March before the onset of the second wave of COVID-19 infections led to the reimposition of lockdown in different states, stalling mobility and muting economic activity.
Consumption in May slumped to its lowest since August last year amid lockdowns and restrictions in several states. Fuel demand showed signs of resurgence in June after restrictions began to be eased and the economy gathered pace.
On July 30, S M Vaidya, Chairman of India's largest oil firm IOC, had stated that petrol consumption has risen over pre-COVID levels as people prefer personal transport over public transport.
Diesel sales, he had said, were likely to return to pre-pandemic levels by Diwali in November if the third wave of COVID infections does not lead to the reimposition of lockdown.