India’s oil consumption surged 4.5% in April as industrial activity gathered pace in Asia’s third-largest economy and sales of trucks and buses soared.
The nation’s total oil demand expanded to 17.7 million tonnes in the month from 16.9 million tonnes a year ago, rising for eight straight months, according to the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell.
Demand for diesel, which accounts for about 40% of India’s oil consumption, increased 2.7% to 7.2 million tonnes. Demand for diesel is typically muted in April as farming consumption shrinks following the harvest season in March.
Gasoline consumption was about 9.3% higher at 2.3 million tonnes, while liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) usage gained 13% to 1.9 million tonnes. Demand for petroleum coke shrunk 0.7% to 2.2 million tonnes.
India’s industrial and economic growth has picked up in the recent months. Core sector industrial production rose 4.1% in March. Sales of passenger and commercial transport vehicles also surged in April. Passenger vehicle sales, including sport-utility vehicles, rose 7.5% during the month, while those of trucks and buses climbed 76%.
India sold almost 25 million vehicles between April last year and March, including 3.3 million cars and 856,453 trucks and buses, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
Meanwhile, Indian state-run refiners resumed raising retail gasoline and diesel prices after a three-week hiatus that coincided with the run-up to elections in Karnataka.
Indian Oil Corp, the nation’s biggest fuel-maker and de facto price-setter for other state-run refiners, increased prices on Monday. That’s the first change since April 24, data on the company’s website showed, and the longest stretch of unchanged prices since the government-owned refiners moved to daily revisions last year to reflect international oil prices.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose more than 4 % in the same period.
Prices of diesel, the most-used fuel in India, are hovering around record levels in the South Asian nation, which imports more than 80% of its annual crude oil requirement. Gasoline prices are at the highest in more than four years.