Market data for the month showed consumption of diesel, a key indicator of economic activities, during the month rising 13% from December 2021 and more than 11% from the same month of the pre-pandemic 2019.
Sequentially, however, sales were 0.5% lower than November 2022.
Petrol sales recorded a growth of 8.6% over the same period of 2021 and 23% over December 2019. The growth momentum was visible sequentially too, with sales topping November consumption by 3.7%.
Jet fuel, or ATF, sales recorded a sharp uptick at 18% more than the year-ago period but were 12% lower than December 2019. But on a positive note, December sales were 5.8% higher than November to indicate a steady growth in demand on the back of a surge in the number of flyers.
Consumption of LPG, mostly used as household cooking fuel, jumped 7.7% from a year ago and near-16% from December 2019 winter chill enveloped most of north India and temperatures cooled off in the remaining parts.
The momentum in diesel demand growth began building up with the start of cropping season in November. Use of threshers and other farm equipment combined with grain transportation to wholesale grain markets and further to consumption centres drove demand for the most-used fuel. Absence of winter rains sustained the demand as diesel-driven pumping sets were used for rabi crop sowing.
Petrol sales were driven by people’s preference for personal cars for travelling to tourist destinations or hometown as well as higher sales of passenger vehicles in December, which brokerages pegged at 15% more than a year ago.
Holiday travel also contributed to rise in diesel demand from taxi operators, while ATF sales were buoyed by a surge in the number of flyers. But jet fuel sales are still below the pre-pandemic level due to more muted recovery in the number of overseas flights.