Petrol, diesel sales top pre-Covid level on price hike fears
State fuel retailers posted robust growth in gasoline and gasoil sales in the first half of March, preliminary fuel sales data showed on Wednesday, as consumers and dealers topped tanks ahead on likelihood of a fuel price hike after March 10
NEW DELHI: Gasoline and gasoil sales rose above pre-Covid levels of 2019 in the first half of March, preliminary data released on Wednesday showed, as consumers and dealers topped tanks ahead on likelihood of a fuel price hike after March 10. State-controlled retailers sold 3.53 million tonnes of gasoil from March 1 to 15, up 32.8% from a month earlier. Sales of gasoline were 1.24 million tonnes, up 18.8%. Bharat Petroleum Corp chairman A.K. Singh said, “20%-25% demand increase was due to customers and dealers buying more anticipating price rise.” The retailers have not raised pump prices since Nov. 4 despite a surge in global oil and fuel prices, a move seen as aiding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in crucial state assembly elections. The elections for five states, including the most populous Uttar Pradesh, got over on March 10. Sales of gasoil, which accounts for about two-fifths of overall refined fuel consumption, are directly linked to industrial activity in Asia’s third-largest economy. Gasoline sales have been rising since the country eased pandemic lockdowns, as people continued to prefer using personal vehicles over public transport for safety reasons. State-run Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp and BPCL own about 90% of the country’s retail fuel outlets.