Petrol and diesel sales fell in the first half of October ahead of the start of festival season that is expected to boost consumption, preliminary data of state-owned firms showed.
Last year, Durga Puja/Dussehra as well as Diwali fell in October. This year the festival season, when consumption picks up, starts in the second half of October.
Petrol sales by three state-owned fuel retailers fell 9 per cent year-on-year, the first drop in two months. Diesel consumption dropped 3.2 per cent.
The decline was largely because of the larger base of last year.
Petrol sales dropped to 1.17 million tonnes during the first half of October from 1.29 million tonnes a year back.
Sales dropped 9 per cent month-on-month as well.
Consumption of diesel, the most consumed fuel in the country -- accounting for about two-fifths of the demand, dropped to 2.99 million tonnes during October 1 to 15 from 3.09 million tonnes a year back. Month-on-month sales were, however, up 9.6 per cent when compared with 2.73 million tonnes in the first half of September.
Diesel sales typically fall in monsoon months as rains lower demand in the agriculture sector which uses the fuel for irrigation, harvesting and transportation. Also, rains slow vehicular movements. This had led to a fall in diesel consumption in the last three months. And once the monsoon ended, consumption has risen month-on-month.
Consumption of diesel had soared 6.7 per cent and 9.3 per cent in April and May, respectively, as agriculture demand picked up and cars yanked up air-conditioning to beat the summer heat. It started to taper in the second half of June after the monsoon set in. It has continued to fall since.
Suppliers' group OPEC sees India's oil demand expanding on average by 2,20,000 barrels per day on the back of vigorous economic growth.
Consumption of petrol during October 1-15 was 12 per cent more than in the COVID-marred October 2021 and 21.7 per cent more than in pre-pandemic October 2019.
Diesel consumption was up 23.4 per cent over October 1-15 in 2021 and 23.1 per cent compared to October 2019.
With the continuing rise in passenger traffic at airports, jet fuel (ATF) demand rose 5.7 per cent to 2,95,200 tonnes during first fortnight of October against the same period last year.
It was 36.5 per cent more than in October 1-15, 2021, but 6.6 per cent lower than pre-COVID October 2019.
Month-on-month jet fuel sales were almost 2 per cent lower compared to 3,00,900 tonnes in September 1-15, 2023.
Cooking gas LPG sales were up 1.2 per cent year-on-year at 1.25 million tonnes in the first half of October. LPG consumption was 10.6 per cent higher than in October 1-15, 2021 and 153 per cent more than in pre-COVID October 2019.
Month-on-month, LPG demand fell 7.5 per cent against 1.36 million tonnes of LPG consumption during September 1-15, the data showed.