Gasoline sales drop in India, diesel rises image

Gasoline sales dropped in November in India as consumers bought less of the fuel, opting more for cheaper diesel.

Gasoline sales decreased last month 7 percent from October to 1.2 million metric tons, or about 330,000 barrels a day. Diesel sales increased 6.8 percent to 5.7 million metric tons in the same period, according to Bloomberg.

In New Delhi, gasoline is currently 60 percent more expensive than diesel. At the beginning of the year, gasoline was 48 percent more expensive than diesel. The price of diesel fuel is controlled by the federal goverment to help curb inflation that has stayed over 9 percent every month this year. State-run refiners are allowed to sell gasoline at market linked prices.

Indian refineries imported 14.8 million tons of crude oil (about 3.6 million barrels a day) in November, 17 percent more than in October. Imports of diesel fuel were 9,000 tons last month, while liquefied petroleum gas purchases from overseas were 369,000 tons. Fuel exports, including gasoline, diesel and naphtha were 4.9 million tons.

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers may cut its annual domestic passenger-car sales target as higher borrowing costs and fuel prices affect demand, the association announced earlier this month. Sales rose 7 percent in November after four straight months of decrease.