(Repeats Jan 10 column. John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst.
The views expressed are his own)
* Chart 1: tmsnrt.rs/2ierliq
* Chart 2: tmsnrt.rs/2iexIC5
* Chart 3: tmsnrt.rs/2ietudI
* Chart 4: tmsnrt.rs/2jz9gxh
By John Kemp
LONDON, Jan 10 India's gasoline consumption
continues to grow rapidly as an increasing number of individuals
purchase their first motorised vehicle, helping drive the
fastest growth in fuel demand in the world.
India's gasoline consumption rose more than 12 percent in
2016 compared with 2015, according to preliminary fuel sales
figures compiled by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (tmsnrt.rs/2ierliq).
Motor spirit consumption averaged 574,000 barrels per day in
2016, up from 513,000 bpd in 2015 and 447,000 bpd in 2014.
Consumption is being driven by an enormous increase in the
number of drivers on the country's roads for the first time.
The number of registered motor vehicles hit 210 million by
March 2015 up from just 105 million in March 2008 ("Road
Transport Yearbook", Ministry of Road Transport and Highways,
The number of registered motor vehicles is doubling every
seven years and shows no sign of being saturated (tmsnrt.rs/2iexIC5).
Vehicle ownership stood at an average of 167 per 1,000
people in 2015, up from 86 in 2007, according to government
But penetration rates were still low compared with other
developing countries such as Mexico (285), Brazil (290) and
And ownership was very low compared with developed economies
such as the United Kingdom (517), Japan (598) and the United
Three-quarters of registered vehicles were two-wheeled motor
cycles (154 million) rather than cars (29 million), goods
vehicles (9 million) or buses (2 million).
Motorcycles use much less fuel than a car, but run entirely
on gasoline, not diesel, and the correct comparison is with the
non-motorised transport and buses they are replacing.
Vehicle ownership including motorcycles has become an
important status symbol for India's rapidly growing urban middle
Nearly one-third of all motor vehicles are registered to
individuals in the country's million-plus cities according to
The most heavily urbanised states and territories in the
union also have the highest rates of vehicle registration per
1,000 population (tmsnrt.rs/2jz9gxh).
Registration rates in heavily urbanised Goa (551),
Puducherry (488), Delhi (424) and Tamil Nadu (326) are much
higher than in rural states such as Odisha (124), Assam (78),
Bihar (46) and Himachal Pradesh (153).
There is enormous potential for India's fuel consumption to
increase as vehicle penetration rates converge with other
developing countries and spread from urban centres to more rural
Fuel use will also increase as families upgrade from their
initial two-wheeled vehicles to larger and more comfortable
India is therefore one of the most important and natural
markets for Saudi Arabia, Iran and other crude producers in the
Middle East given the short sea routes.
The country is also critical for the major international oil
companies as an outlet for their downstream fuel divisions.
BP has obtained permission to set up 3,500 fuel stations in
India because it sees a strong future for transportation demand
in India ("BP to set up 3,500 fuel stations in India", Reuters,
Other major private and state-owned oil companies are also
reported to be interested in establishing retail distribution
networks given the strong outlook for fuel consumption.
In absolute terms, India's gasoline consumption is still
dwarfed by China. But India is set to be one of the fastest
growing markets for road fuel in the next decade.
(Editing by Susan Thomas)