State fuel retailers have sold about 17 per cent less petrol and about 26 per cent less diesel in March compared to a year ago as fuel demand in Asia’s third biggest economy declined due to steps taken to curb spread of the coronavirus, industry sources said.
State companies – Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum – own about 90 per cent of the country’s retail fuel outlets.
Local petrol sales in March were about 1.94 million tonnes, while diesel sales reduced to 4.98 million tonnes, sources said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a 21-day lockdown that will end in mid-April in a desperate bid to stave off an epidemic among the nation’s 1.3 billion people.
Due to restrictions on movement and travel advisories, aviation turbine sales have dropped by about 33 per cent to 4,50,000 tonnes during the month, they said.
The country’s consumption of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or cooking gas rose 1.7 per cent in March from a year earlier to about 2.3 million tonnes, they said.
Before initiating a nation-wide lockdown, India had taken steps including closure of schools, universities, shopping malls and other public gatherings and restricted air travel to control the spread of the virus.