Second wave of Covid-19: India’s fuel demand slips to nine-month low in May

India’s fuel demand in May slumped to its lowest in nine months as restrictions to curb the second wave of COVID infections stalled mobility and muted economic activity.

Fuel demand fell 1.5 per cent to 15.1 million tonnes despite the low base of May 2020 and was down 11.3 per cent when compared to the previous month, according to data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the oil ministry.

India was under one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in May last year, which brought all mobility and economic activity to a grinding halt.

This year, though the infection rate is much severe, restrictions are localised. Personal mobility is not as hampered as last year and more factories have remained open while cargo movement between states too hasn’t been as badly affected.

Petrol consumption at 1.99 million tonnes in May was up 12 per cent over the previous year, it was down 16 per cent over April and 27 per cent over the pre-COVID era.

Diesel sales were up marginally to 5.53 million tonnes year-on-year but were down 17 per cent over April and 29 per cent over the pre-COVID period.

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