Indian diesel production fell sharply in the past year, with demand for the fuel plunging to record lows.
The industry has seen a sharp drop in output over the past six months as diesel prices have dropped sharply, which has seen many firms struggle to attract enough buyers to keep the industry humming.
According to a report by the Indian Oil Corporation, Indian diesel production had dropped 30% from a year ago.
In July, India’s minister of state for petroleum and natural gas said diesel imports were down by a whopping 30% since March last year.
The government has tried to lure the country back to a more sustainable economy by lowering the price of diesel and setting up a diesel subsidy scheme.
However, the government’s measures have failed to keep up with the country’s soaring domestic demand, leading to the drop in demand.
As a result, India now accounts for less than 1% of global diesel imports, compared to nearly 5% in 2010.
India’s diesel output has been declining in line with other major markets like the US, Brazil and Germany, which have seen a steady increase in demand over the last six months.
“The market has slowed down.
Demand is now below the capacity of the domestic market.
The demand is not coming from India and it is not going to come from China,” said Anshul Kumar, chief executive officer of the India-based International Fuel Pumping Association (IFPA), which represents a large number of Indian companies.
Indian companies have seen the country suffer a severe financial blow in the aftermath of the demonetisation drive, with the government raising interest rates and freezing many government contracts.
Kumar said that a significant portion of the industry’s output is already in jeopardy.
“The current government’s policies have impacted the competitiveness of the diesel market and the industry as a whole,” he said.
A key driver for the diesel industry in the Indian economy is the ageing population.
Since 2016, India has seen an increase in the number of people over 65 years of age, with some states having seen a rise in the use of assisted living facilities in recent years.
Many firms are also looking to expand in areas where demand has been rising.
On Tuesday, Tata Motors announced it was expanding its India operations, which includes production of its Tata Nano diesel engine in the state of Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, a recent report by a Mumbai-based consultancy firm predicted that the Indian diesel industry will be one of the biggest in the world by 2023, adding that it is expected to have a market share of 1.5% by that time.
At the moment, diesel is India’s second-largest fuel by volume, after petrol, but the country is forecast to be the world’s largest oil consumer by 2020, after the United States, and its emissions are forecast to grow by up to 17%. According to a recent McKinsey report, India was the most-overused fuel in the United Kingdom, overtaking the United Arab Emirates.
There are currently around 1.3 million diesel engines in the country, of which some 1.8 million are exported, with about 70% of the total being used for industrial and commercial purposes.