Climate concerns take a backseat as India's petrol use doubles in a decade

Climate concerns take a backseat as India's petrol use doubles in a decade

In an anti-climax of sorts regarding environmental conservation efforts and carbon emission reduction, a recent report has revealed an unsettling trend: India's consumption of petrol has more than doubled over the past decade, while diesel consumption has risen by approximately one-third, The Economic Times reported.

Overall, oil demand has surged by fifty per cent. Data from the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry indicates that between 2013-14 and 2023-24, annual petrol consumption skyrocketed by 117 per cent, diesel by 31 per cent, aviation turbine fuel by 50 per cent, and LPG by 82 per cent, the report claimed.

However, kerosene consumption plummeted by 93 per cent during this period, attributed to the government's initiative to promote clean cooking through increased access to LPG, it added.

The preference for petrol-fuelled vehicles has intensified over the past decade, mainly due to deregulation, which significantly eroded the traditional price advantage previously enjoyed by diesel, ET said, citing sources. The report also suggested that the surge in petrol consumption is driven by factors such as increased car purchases following the Covid-19 pandemic, rising disposable incomes, and an aspirational middle class.

Conversely, diesel demand, constituting approximately 38 per cent of India's total oil consumption, has been affected by improved power supply, leading to reduced reliance on backup diesel-powered generators. Additionally, the growing adoption of solar farm pumps has further dampened agricultural diesel demand.

Second-highest consumption of fuel in March

In March 2024, India witnessed its second-highest levels of petrol and diesel consumption on record, with jet fuel usage reaching an all-time high, reflecting the nation's rapidly expanding industrial base and burgeoning demand for both personal and commercial mobility.

Data released by the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the Oil Ministry revealed that total oil demand stood at 21.09 million metric tonnes (4.99 million barrels per day) in March, slightly lower than the 21.22 million tonnes (5.02 mbpd) recorded in the same period last year.

For the fiscal year ending in March 2024, fuel demand reached a record high of 233.276 million tonnes (4.67 mbpd), up from 223.021 million tonnes (4.48 mbpd) the previous year.

Diesel sales, primarily used in trucks and commercial passenger vehicles, increased by 3.1 per cent year-on-year to 8.04 million tonnes in March and rose by 4.4 per cent for the entire fiscal year.

Meanwhile, petrol sales in March grew by 6.9 per cent year-on-year to 3.32 million tonnes and were up 6.4 per cent for the fiscal year.

Jet fuel consumption also reached a record high. India's air passenger market, which is the world's fastest-growing, utilised 758,000 tonnes of jet fuel, marking the highest consumption ever recorded. This figure represented an 8 per cent increase month-on-month and a 10 per cent increase year-on-year.