Following the rapid spread of pandemic and truck drivers testing positive for COVID-19, the oil station owners are a worried lot as shortage of fuel looms large.
“Following the incident, the depots are demanding drivers to produce COVID-19 negative certificate. However, the procedures of the State government compel the drivers to undergo compulsory hospitalisation for 14 days. This could lead to less drivers turning up and as a result reduce fuel distribution and causing immense shortage in coming days, “ he said.
After COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world, the fuel prices dropped but as the restrictions were relaxed in a phased manner the fuel prices rose sharply. In last 20 days, petrol prices increased by more than Rs 7 per litre and diesel prices increased by morethan Rs 8 per litre.
The sharp hike in fuel price along with restrictions for travel has greatly reduced the fuel consumption. According to the fuel station owners, the reduction in fuel demands had forced the fuel companies to reduce the production resulting in shortage.
“Petrol and diesel are produced in equal quantity called fractional. As the demand for diesel has dropped petrol production has also come down simultaneously leading to shortage of fuel in areas outside Chennai”, said Sivanandham, who had also completed Master of Science in Renewable Energy, from Manchester University.
Similarly, A Abdul Bari, who runs Bharath Petroleum (BP) fuel station in Madurai also agreed to the current scenario of decrease in demand but says that shortage will not be universal. “Average sale of petrol per day would be around 7,500 litres per day in my station but now not even 1,000 litres of petrol is sold. Similarly, for diesel 10,000 liters were sold per day but now only about 1,000 litres are sold,” said Bari.
He also said that since his fuel station is the largest in Madurai and he owns a fuel tanker, he managed to sneak in fuel but that may not be the situation across the State.