KARACHI: Petrol sales hit a record high of 681,938 tonnes in August, according to an official of the Oil Companies Advisory Council.
Petrol sales were 607,411 tonnes in May, a record that was broken in July when people bought 615,178 tonnes of fuel.
Out of total sales recorded last month, the share of local petrol was 175,819 tonnes or 25.8 per cent. The rest consisted of imported fuel as well pre-existing stocks, the official said.
Multiple factors contributed to surging demand for petrol, including robust growth in the sales of two-wheelers and locally assembled vehicles as well as rising imports of used cars of mostly 660cc.
Moreover, the three-day closure of CNG stations every week in Sindh led a number of motorists to switch over to motor gasoline.
Rising number of cars, bikes resulting in high fuel consumption
In contrast, CNG stations in Punjab have not observed weekly closures for the last one year due to the arrival of imported LNG.
The CNG price went up over Rs10 per kilogram December 2016 onwards in Sindh after its deregulation by the government. CNG station operators believe that their fuel still costs 28pc less than petrol.
Similarly, an increasing number of vehicles are plying the roads as part of Uber and Careem, private taxi services. These air-conditioned cars usually run on petrol.
A taxi driver said that at least five to six vehicles out of every 10 cars that are currently on roads are Uber/Careem taxis. Petrol demand may increase further as more cab companies are coming along.
Sales of locally produced vehicles in July-August were 35,002 units, up 28pc from 27,317 units a year ago. Car sales rose 2.5pc to 185,781 units in 2016-17.
Bike sales have also been showing positive growth of late. Japanese assembler Honda sold 187,249 units in July-August compared to 136,476 a year ago, an increase of 37.2pc. Similarly, sales of Chinese assembler United Auto Motorcycles swelled 35.5pc to 67,023 units over the same period.
Sales of Honda and United motorcycles in 2016-17 stood at 960,105 units and 326,298 units, respectively.
Total sales of bikes and three-wheelers surged more than one-fifth to 1.63 million units in 2016-17 from 1.35m units a year ago.