The domestic demand for petrol and diesel reportedly dropped by 10 per cent in the first fortnight of March 2020, and the primary cause of this is the coronavirus outbreak. This dip in demand is not just limited to petrol and diesel, other fuels like jet fuel and shipping fuel too have seen a drop of 10 per cent. With sales dropping at petrol pumps and CNG filling stations across the country, March could emerge as the worst month for fuel consumption although fuel prices have been lower than before even after the additional cess introduced by the government.
On the other hand, the fuel retailers and refiners too are impacted with the Coronavirus outbreak as they are facing a drop in sales volume further worsening their inventory losses due to oil the price collapse.
According to a report in ETAuto, The petroleum industry is witnessing the impact of Coronavirus on sales of all petroleum products. The overall demand for liquid fuels has gone down by 10-11% for the first fortnight of March 2020. Due to a restriction in movement and travel advisories, the ATF sales have dropped by over 10%. The bunker fuel sales are also down by approximately 10%.
India's total oil demand increased by 2 per cent whereas the demand for diesel remained flat between April and February this fiscal year. During the same period, CNG sales are down by around 5 per cent in the Delhi region because CNG-driven school buses are not refuelling as schools remain closed.
HPCL chairman M K Surana told ETAuto, "There is some impact on pump sales. People are restricting their travel even within the city. Those driving to go to malls or for entertainment are probably the first to drop out. There is the fear of coronavirus and there are advisories that people are trying to digest. We will have to see how the situation evolves."
Several companies have asked the employees to report to work from home, reducing the traffic as well as fuel demand. Moreover, many users are employing private cars for office commute instead of public transport for avoiding crowd, which partially offsets the decline in sales.
Various fuel station owners reportedly are claiming a decline in sales by 15 to 20 per cent. Ajay Bansal, President of thAll India Petroleum Dealers Association also mentioned that his pump in the Capital City has witnessed a sales drop of 15 per cent in the past week. Another pump Manager from Mumbai stated that fuel sales dropped to 8,000 litres from 10,000 litres. He said, "People are just scared of coronavirus. They are not coming out.