Sales of petrol and diesel are up 6.1% and 4.3%, respectively, in the April-January period, according to the provisional sales data published by the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell of the oil ministry. Revised data will be published next week.
State refiners sold 8% more petrol and 1.8% less diesel in January than a year earlier, signalling market share gains for the private sector. For months, private players have been recovering the fuel market share they had lost in the previous financial year.
Jet fuel sales rose 6.2% in January from a year earlier. So far this fiscal year, it has grown by 11.8%. Lower sales growth in January was mainly on account of a spate of flight cancellations due to fog in north India. For state-run companies, the sales growth in January was just 1.7%.
Cooking gas consumption expanded 6.9% in January and 2.8% in the April-January period. The cooking gas supply is almost entirely controlled by state-run companies.
Petrol sales account for 15% of total refined products demand in the country while diesel makes up 38%.Demand for diesel had fallen 2.5% in December over last year while that for petrol had remained nearly unchanged.
Petrol demand is almost entirely dependent on mobility, with two-wheelers accounting for nearly 60% of total petrol sales in the country. Monthly new vehicle sales are also a key contributor to petrol sales growth.
In December, the sales of petrol and diesel were affected by cyclone Michaung in the southeastern part of the country, a truckers’ strike, and expectations of a price drop encouraging dealers to maintain lower stock.
Diesel is mainly used for long-haul transport, mining, farming and backup generators. Sales of new commercial vehicles add to diesel demand. The sales of the fuel tend to taper off in winter after a strong showing in the run-up to the festive season. Trucks are heavily deployed to ferry goods from factories to retail stores ahead of the big shopping season around Navratri and Diwali.
The harvest season and rains have their own effect on diesel demand with the former boosting sales while the latter slows fuel demand for irrigation. The increased adoption of solar pumps and solar lighting has been progressively lowering the overall demand for diesel in the country.
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