Economy

Fuel sales rise 13pc on Covid restrictions ease

petrol

An attendant fuels a car at a Total petrol station. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Petrol and diesel sales recovered marginally in June after the government revised curfew hours to give motorist three extra hours to travel.
  • Dealers recorded a 13 per cent rise in sales for both motor fuels in June, according to the latest data from the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
  • They sold 144 million litres of super petrol and 187 million litres of diesel.

Petrol and diesel sales recovered marginally in June after the government revised curfew hours to give motorist three extra hours to travel.

Dealers recorded a 13 per cent rise in sales for both motor fuels in June, according to the latest data from the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA).

They sold 144 million litres of super petrol and 187 million litres of diesel.

President Uhuru Kenyatta eased restrictions to hours of operations from 7pm to 5am to 9pm to 4am from June 6 and lifted movement cessation orders in and out of four counties including Nairobi and Mombasa.

The curfew hours have since been retained but the travel restrictions in and out of Mombasa and Nairobi have been lifted, setting stage for higher sales this month.

The relief came after two months of lock down on Mombasa, Nairobi, Kilifi and Mandera as part of the containment measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Public service vehicle operators who had been limited by the shorter hours of operations said they had cut their trips by more than half as commuters avoided travelling and preferred to work from home while the lucrative peak hour when fares are usually increased was disrupted.

Matatu Owners Association Chairman Samuel Kimutai said the increased hours of operations had only offered a slight relief as matatus can now make more trips but said the number of passengers remain very low.

“We had a slight relief to operate more but where are the passengers? They have stayed away due to the fear associated with the social distancing guidelines and we are hardly operating at 50 per cent,” said Mr Kimutai.

Motorists bought 21.8 million litres more of diesel in June compared to May while petrol consumption went up by 16.7 million litres.

The sales were still, however lower than the January to March volumes before the country began putting in place measures to control the spread of the coronavirus.

The boost from reviewed curfew hours is expected to spread to other businesses hard pressed by the earlier restrictions.

Supermarkets and banks extended working hours to serve more customers after the directive which had compelled banks to close at 3pm to allow staff travel home before curfew.