Though Kathmandu valley consumes over a quarter of the national demand at around 350,000 litres of petrol and around 400,000 litres of diesel every day in normal conditions, due to low vehicular movement during the festive season of Dashain and Tihar — in Ashwin and Kartik months — are the lowest consuming months in the year.
"Though the Thankot depot is distributing petroleum products in the holidays too, consumption has not yet picked up to the normal level of 400,000 litres of diesel," said spokesperson of Nepal Oil Corporation Mukunda Dhungel.
However, it might not make any difference in national consumption round the year, because the Kathmandu valley consumes the least in the festive season, he said, adding that the winter season after the festive season has been usually witnessing an increase in the consumption of petroleum products due to increasing load-shedding hours.
According to transport entrepreneurs, more than 1.5 million people were expected to leave Kathmandu valley — Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts — for Dashain.
Around 1,100 buses, minibuses and microbuses have ferried the floating population of Kathmandu to the districts since Ghatasthapana, the first day of Dashain festival, when almost all the government and most of the private sector closes.
Besides buses and microbuses, around 40,000 motorcycles also leave the Kathmandu Valley every day during Dashain, lessening the pressure on the valley petrol pumps.
The petrol pumps in the Kathmandu valley feel less pressure during Dashain, according to Nepal Petroleum Dealers National Association.
The low consumption of petroleum products in Kathmandu valley — one of the highest consumers — puts less pressure in the distribution system too, said Dhungel, adding that Nepal Oil Corporation's Thankot depot has been distributing petroleum products in the festive season too, to ease supply, he said.
Though some of the petrol pumps that were running out of stock could not refill fuel on Saturday due to a public holiday, they got the fuel today but the demand is less than normal.
The Kathmandu valley consumes nearly 31 per cent of the total petroleum products supplied to the country, according to a survey report ‘The Share of Kathmandu Valley in the National Economy’ published by the central bank.
The consumption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) — popularly known as cooking gas — stands at 60 per cent of total domestic consumption, the survey of the fiscal year 2010-11 said, adding that the valley consumes 45.5 per cent petrol, 15.5 per cent diesel and 37.6 per cent kerosene.
Last fiscal year, the country imported petroleum products worth Rs 92.25 billion, almost double in the last two years, when in 2009-10, it had imported Rs 51.61 billion worth petroleum products, according to the central bank data.
Lowest consuming months
fiscal year— Ashwin — Kartik
2008-09— Rs 11.39 billion — 15.34 billion
2009-10 — Rs 8.65 billion — Rs 12.07 billion
2010-11— Rs 13.53 billion — 18.03 billion
(Source: Nepal Rastra Bank)