With some parts of the country locked down because of the coronavirus pandemic, it has had a significant effect on the demand for fuel in the country. According to a report in PTI, fuel demand has decreased by 7 per cent when compared to pre-covid times. Arun Singh, Director for Marketing and Refineries at Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), told PTI, "At the end of April, overall fuel demand is down by about 7 per cent from pre-Covid level of April 2019."
Back in April 2020, India was under a nationwide lockdown and fuel sales had halved that month and so comparing current month sale to April 2020 will not throw a correct interpretation.
According to the preliminary data of state-owned fuel retailers, sales of petrol, used in cars and motorcycles fell to 2.14 million tonnes in April, the lowest since August. Petrol sales in April were 6.3 per cent lower than March 2021 and 4.1 per cent lower than April 2019. Petrol sales in April 2020 were 872,000 tonnes.
Demand for diesel fell to 5.9 million tonnes in April 2021, down 1.7 per cent from the previous month and 9.9 per cent from April 2019. Diesel sales in April 2020 were 2.84 million tonnes.
With the second pandemic wave expected to weaken by June this year, there is a high possibility that local fuel consumption will start to look up and reach pre-covid levels. Singh said, "We were near pre-Covid level in March 2021, but new restrictions due to the second Covid-19 wave has temporarily reduced demand, equivalent to about 10 per cent of March 2021 demand for both personal mobility and industrial goods movement."