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India’s Fuel Demand Sees Major February Rebound

India’s fuel demand rebounded strongly in the first half of February, recovering from a drop in January, with sales of diesel and gasoline jumping by double digits so far this month.

Sales of diesel, the most used fuel in India, jumped by almost 25% year over year between February 1 and 15, according to preliminary industry data cited by PTI on Thursday. Diesel sales so far in February were also up by 16.7% compared to the first two weeks of February in 2021 and 7% higher than in the same period of 2020, just before the Covid lockdowns.

Compared to the first half of January 2023, India’s diesel sales rose by 10.3% this month.

Diesel sales have surged this month amid a pickup in the agriculture sector and increased trucking activity, industry sources told PTI.

Gasoline sales, meanwhile, surged by 18% year over year, and by 13.6% compared to the first half of January, the data showed. 

Jet fuel demand in India soared by 43.7% between February 1 and 15 compared to the same period in 2022. Domestic air travel is back to pre-Covid levels, but international traffic is still lagging behind, sources told PTI.

In January, India’s fuel demand slipped from a nine-month peak in December as colder weather and a slowdown in factory activity sent fuel consumption down by 4.6% month-on-month. 

Domestic demand for fuels may be about to rise further later this year as the government considers a cut in fuel tax as part of efforts to bring inflation under control.


Meanwhile, the Economic Times reported that India might soon boost its imports of Russian gasoline and diesel, in addition to fuel oil. Citing unnamed sources, the report said some refiners planned to buy Russian fuels to sell on the domestic market and export their own products to the West.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on February 16 2023 said:
    With Indian domestic demand for fuels on the rise as the government is considering a cut in fuel tax as part of efforts to bring inflation under control, this will definitely translate into more crude oil imports from Russia.

    Russia has beaten Iraq to become the largest crude oil supplier to India supplying more than 1.25 million barrels a day (mbd) exactly as it beat Saudi Arabia to become the largest supplier to China exporting more than 2.0 mbd.

    And with both China and India being among the world’s top refiners and exporters of refined products, they will need more crude imports from Russia to support their exports of petroleum products. This means that banned Russian petroleum exports will continue to reach the United States and the EU as Chinese and Indian products refined from Russian crude.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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