State fuel retailers sold about 26 per cent less diesel and 17 per cent less petrol in March as compared to a year ago as demand for fuel saw a steep decline in India due to steps taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus, industry sources told Reuters.
State oil companies– Hindustan Petroleum Corp, Indian Oil Corp and Bharat Petroleum– own 90 per cent fuel outlets of Asia’s third-largest economy. As per sources, diesel sales were reduced to 4.8 million tonnes while petrol sales in March dipped about 1.94 million tonnes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has imposed a 21-day nationwide lockdown till April 14 to prevent the outbreak among India’s 1.3 billion people. Due to imposed restrictions, aviation turbine sales dropped by about 4.5 lakh tonnes or 33 per cent during the month of March.
Meanwhile, the country’s consumption of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) or cooking gas spiked to 2.3 million as compared to 1.7 per cent during the same month last year.
Ahead of the lockdown, India had taken several steps such as the closure of educational institutions, shopping malls, public gatherings, and restricted air travel to curb the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, the price of crude oil slumped by as much as 5 per cent (in the last 15 days) to USD 25 per barrel amid coronavirus outbreak.