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Petrol sales have been on an upward trajectory and have continuously crossed record levels in the last two months. Monthly petrol sales for July 2021 stood at 810,000 tons – highest ever reached. The reasons for spiking petrol sales include the skyrocketing car and automobile sales, two-wheeler sales, as well as increased industrial activity; rise in domestic tourism during July 2021 (particularly the northern areas) and the restriction on Iranian petrol are all pushing up the petrol sales.

Data from OCAC shows that overall petroleum sales by the OMCs in July 2021 were also the highest ever - growing by 16.5 percent year-on-year; the sales of the key petroleum products: furnace oil, petrol and diesel together increased by 17 percent year-on-year. The growth in petroleum sales was led by growth witnessed in furnace oil, which saw a surge of 56 percent year-on-year in July 2021. At the same time, diesel sales and petrol sales increased by 7 and 14 percent year-on-year.

Growth in furnace oil sales has been drastic in the last couple of months as the demand by the power sector has increased manifolds due to the RLNG pricing fiasco and the recent closure of RLNG terminal for maintenance. Whereas the recovery seen in the economy post initial COVID-19 phase has spurred industrial and agriculture growth along with curb on Iranian diesel which drove HSD sales.

Returning from COVID restriction have given quite a boost to petroleum consumption. With petrol sales at all time high, car sales breaking records, power generation also at all time high, economic revival in full swing – no wonder the government does not want a lull to interrupt the growth period with extreme covid restrictions. Nonetheless, with fresh restrictions announced only recently by NCOC in the wake of Delta variant spreading such restricted travel to northern areas, reduction in railway and public transport capacities and back to two-days off business schedule along with the lockdown in Karachi are going to dent August petroleum sales.

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