India guzzled a record high of 2.08 million tonne (MT) of petrol and 6.96 MT of diesel in May 2016. The high growth was basically from decontrolled diesel price and robust economic growth, said government data.
The two fuels, finding a new balance in consumers' mind, also reflected on automobile sales said an industry review by the petroleum ministry.
The petrol-run passenger vehicle and two wheeler segment grew 6.3 percent and 9.7 percent respectively, while diesel guzzling heavy and light commercial vehicles grew 16.9 percent in May 2016 (compared to May 2015). Discounting cars and utility vehicles from the passenger segment that run on diesel , commercial vehicles consume nearly 40 percent of diesel supplies. Data suggest that commercial transportation, industrial and agricultural activities are three key guzzlers of diesel and their growth indicate an uptick in the economic activity of the country. .
The review pointed out that though waning price-difference helped petrol-driven automobiles gain traction, diesel was becoming a clear beneficiary of India's push towards manufacturing and infrastructure improvement in the country. It added that industry and agriculture growth in the last quarter of fiscal 2016, helped the country clock a 7.9 percent GDP growth in that quarter and an 7.6 percent growth for the entire year.
Incidentally, the fuel consumption for June declined with both petrol and diesel consumptions coming down to 1.8 MT and 6.3 MT respectively.
The May 2016 figures, however said, the surge in the month's consumption could also be attributable to good weather and holiday season, apart from full-swing election campaigning in six states in early May. Traffic at ports and power production inching up, diesel stands to gain more than petrol in consumption growth.
Also with low fuel prices economic viability of public transport and carrier vehicles has become better, it added.