India’s fuel demand contracted by a massive 9.1% in the financial year ended March 31, the first in more than two decades, as a stringent lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the pandemic pummelled economic activity, government data showed on Friday.
India consumed 194.63 million tonnes of petroleum products in 2020-21 as compared with 214.12 million tonnes demand in the previous year, according to the latest data released by the Oil Ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell .
This is the first time fuel consumption has contracted since 1998-99, the most historical year for which government data is available.
The demand contraction was led by diesel, the most-consumed fuel in the country. Diesel consumption fell 12% to 72.72 million tonnes while petrol demand shrank 6.7% to 27.95 million tonnes.
The government imposed a nationwide lockdown in March last year, shutting down factories and businesses. It was lifted in stages beginning June.
The GDP is estimated to have contracted by 7-8% in 2020-21 as economic activity showed signs of recovery in the last quarter of 2020.
However, a second wave of COVID-19 infections despite a broadening vaccination roll-out, with renewed lockdowns implemented in some States, is threatening to hit the nascent recovery.