NEW DELHI: India's petrol and diesel sales soared in June on the back of the start of the cropping season, summer travels, and an overall pick up in economic activity, preliminary industry data showed.
The start of the cropping season helped diesel demand register double-digit growth over the pre-pandemic period -- a record in recent years.
Diesel, the most-used fuel in the country, saw sales jumping 35.2 percent year on year to 7.38 million tonnes in June.
This was 10.5 percent higher than sales in pre-pandemic June 2019 and 33.3 percent more than June 2020. It was 11.5 percent higher than 6.7 million tonnes of consumption during May this year.
Industry sources attributed the pick-up in diesel demand -- which first rose above pre-pandemic levels in April -- to higher consumption by the agriculture and transport sectors.
Petrol sales by state-owned fuel retailers, which control roughly 90 percent of the market, at 2.8 million tonnes in June were 29 percent higher than the same period last year when a devastating second COVID-19 wave wreaked havoc on the economy.
This consumption was 36.7 percent higher than the demand in June 2020 and 16.5 percent more than 2.4 million tonnes of sales in the pre-COVID June 2019. Month-on-month sales were up 3.1 percent, as per the preliminary data.
Sources said consumption in June was helped by the low base effect of last year.
Consumption has been on the rise since May when annual summer vacations led to higher travel.
April saw consumption drop due to a Rs 10 per liter hike in petrol and diesel prices after an over four-month hiatus.
The government on March 25, 2020, imposed a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus. The complete lockdown, which halted mobility and crippled business, was slowly eased after two months.
Cooking gas, whose prices were hiked by Rs 103.50 per cylinder since March, saw sales rising by a marginal 0.23 percent to 2.26 million tonnes in June.
This was 9.6 percent higher than the consumption in June 2020 when the government extended free cooking gas to the poor to help them tide over the hardships of the lockdown.
LPG consumption was 27.9 percent more than June 2019 demand and 6 percent higher than 1.77 million tonnes of sales in June 2021.
Jet fuel (ATF) sales more than doubled to 535,900 tonnes as the aviation sector opened up after two years.
ATF consumption was 150.1 percent more than June 2020 but 12.9 percent lower than the pre-COVID sales of 615,400 tonnes in June 2019. Month-on-month sales were up 6 percent.