The consumption of Premium Motor Spirit, commonly known as petrol, by motorists in June witnessed a substantial decline, with the federal government reporting a daily reduction of at least 18.5 million litres.
An investigation conducted by LEADERSHIP Sunday indicates that this trend is likely to continue in the official data for July and the subsequent months. Nigerians are opting to purchase less petrol, and there is also a noticeable decrease in the number of cars on the roads.
LEADERSHIP Sunday interviewed fuel station attendants, who reported decreased sales compared to previous months. Motorists, facing the high cost of petrol, have chosen to park their vehicles as well.
The first half of 2023 saw a nationwide consumption of 11.26 billion litres of PMS, according to the Federal Government.
However, the removal of petrol subsidies after President Bola Tinubu’s announcement on May 29, 2023, led to an average daily reduction of about 18.5 million litres in PMS consumption during June.
Analysts attribute the consumption reduction partially to petrol smuggling to neighboring countries, such as Benin Republic, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Togo, due to the price disparity between Nigeria and its neighbors.
In June, the price of PMS soared to N540 per litre, and since July 17, 2023, it has further escalated to over N617 per litre in most states. This period witnessed an increase in the number of motorists abandoning their vehicles due to the high petrol costs.
Although the Nigerian government has not yet released data on fuel consumption for the latter part of July, testimonies from various filling stations suggest a downward trend.
Data from the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority reveals that between January 1 and May 28, 2023, when subsidies were still in place, the country consumed an average of 66.9 million litres of petrol daily.
Comparatively, from June 1 to June 28, 2023, after subsidy removal, the average daily consumption dropped to 48.43 million litres, representing a difference of around 18.5 million litres between pre-deregulation and post-deregulation periods.
Notably, some days saw petrol consumption exceeding 100 million litres, while on other days, it plummeted to below 10 million litres.
For example, during the pre-deregulation period, Nigerians consumed 103.6 million litres on March 8, 105.02 million litres on April 20, and 101.9 million litres on May 16. Conversely, post-deregulation figures rarely exceeded 78.84 million litres, recorded on June 20.
In Port Harcourt, investigations revealed reduced patronage at filling stations