Kerosene consumption declines to 13-year low

A woman buys kerosene at a fuel station in Nyeri. FILE PHOTO | NMG Kenya’s monthly kerosene consumption hit its lowest level in more than 13 years at 11,130 metric tonnes in September, the latest official statistics show.

The data by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) further shows the use of kerosene in households has not gone past the 20,000 metric tonnes mark since August last year after the introduction of a levy to deter adulteration of diesel with the product.

September’s consumption was the lowest since at least December 2006, when KNBS started making public the monthly consumption numbers.

Former Petroleum Institute of East Africa Chairman Powell Maimba attributed the trend to oil marketers who had over the years scaled-down kerosene sales, and the introduction of the adulteration levy by the Energy and Petroleum Authority in September 2018.

“Over the past three to four years, oil marketers have slowly discontinued the distribution of kerosene…it is not the demand but the supply that has gone down. Just visit most stations in Nairobi and they are not selling kerosene, very few are doing it now,” he told the Business Daily.

He added that introduction of the levy last year had also led to the declining consumption of paraffin that was mainly used by unscrupulous traders to blend diesel.

The Treasury introduced the adulteration levy of Sh18 per litre in September 2018 following findings that up to 75 percent of paraffin in the market went into adulteration of diesel.

Kerosene is mainly used in informal settlements in the urban areas and rural parts of Kenya to power cookstoves and lanterns.

The fall in paraffin consumption coincided with the growing use of liquefied petroleum gas that hit a two year high of 28,490 metric tonnes in January this year. This, however, fell to 13,270 metric tonnes in June.

Firewood remains the number one cooking fuel by households at 54.6 percent followed by charcoal (14.6 percent), kerosene (14 percent) and LPG (13.4 percent).

The state has stepped up efforts to cut the use of paraffin in Kenyan households and replace it with the cleaner gas.The use of gas has also been boosted by the availability in the market of smaller cylinders of six and three kilogrammes, which have helped homes that cannot afford the larger 13kg cylinder access the product.

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