The petroleum demand in India, which is one of the largest globally, fell for the first time in more than two decades in 2020. Thanks to COVID-19 pandemic that shuttered businesses and factories reported Deccan Herald.
According to the Bloomberg calculations of provisional data published by the oil ministry's Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell, total demand for the fuel declined by 10.8 per cent last year to a five-year low of 193.4 million tons.
The consumption of petrol in India collapsed by 70 per cent after the nationwide lockdown began in March. The drop has resulted in a sharp cutback in crude processing and operations at petrochemical plants.
The strict restrictions ravaged the Indian economy, which is set for its biggest contraction in the gross domestic product. However, the Modi government has relaxed many rules to pull the country's economy out of a slump.
The demand is anyway picking up as restrictions are being relaxed gradually. Monthly consumption of petroleum fuels, a proxy of crude oil demand, was about 1.8 per cent short of previous year's levels in December and touched an 11-month high.
Gasoline consumption last month rose 9.3 per cent year-on-year, the highest since May 2019, because of the increased use of personal vehicles. Diesel demand was 2.8 per cent lower from a year earlier.