Pakistan imported a record 188,330 tonnes of petrol in August breaking the previous record of 178,199 tonnes in July 2012, figures compiled by the Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC) revealed.
However, the data of petrol sale in August 2012 is not released yet but the country had already achieved record sale of 305,000 tonnes in July 2012.
Demand for petrol remained brisk in August owing to increase in customers’ movement for festival shopping last month coupled with three day load-shedding of CNG stations in various parts of Punjab this month. The two-day closure of CNG outlets also got under way in Sindh which may boost petrol sale.
Rising import of power generators due to heavy electric load-shedding and thriving import of used cars were also the main reasons of rising petrol demand.
Sale of locally assembled cars slightly rose to 9,329 units in August 2012 as compared to 8,996 units in July 2012 while sale in July-August 12 dropped to 18,325 units from 25,553 units in the same period of last year.
Bike and three-wheeler sales of some selected members of Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) dropped to 66,974 units in August 2012 from 69,204 units in July 2012.
Total sales in July-August 2012 also plunged to 136,178 units from 147,147 units in the corresponding period of last year.
A refinery operator said that petrol demand will further thrive in winter season in view of intense load shedding of CNG especially in Punjab.
He said that the population of three wheeler petrol rickshaws, which runs only on petrol, is also going up. Rising sale of Qingqi type rickshaws is creating extra demand for petrol.
Market sources said that CNG rickshaw population has crossed 100,000 units in Karachi alone and their operators also maintain petrol stock in view of CNG load shedding.
Chairman Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) Abdul Sami Khan said that low pressure of gas at various compressed natural outlets and long queues prior and after CNG load shedding is also forcing people to fill their fuel tanks with petrol to maximum levels in their cars.
He said the government is not realizing the heavy spending of foreign exchange on rising import of petrol which is set to increase in winter in anticipation of CNG load shedding.
Besides, a number of gas fields in Sindh were already facing problems causing gas shortage and closure of compressed natural gas pumps. Vehicle owners also go wild to get maximum petrol in view of any news regarding hike in petrol prices.