For some reason Goa and Daman & Diu (DD), two tourist friendly territories that are famous as places Indians go to get drunk on cheap alcohol, also lead in terms of per-capita consumption of petroleum products. (The chart below is from data.gov.in.)
States/UTs-wise Per Capita Sales of Petroleum Products (2003-04 to 2011-12)
Anyway, the reason why masses of Indians go to these territories to get drunk (other than the beaches) is because the local taxes on liquor is lower there (as it is in some other places such as Meghalaya). If we assume that there is a similarly liberal view of tax on petroleum products, then these territories probably offer petrol and diesel at a significant discount to their neighbours, since the local taxes account for about about a quarter of the retail price of petrol
I know that this is the case with respect to Meghalaya, and people passing by Meghalaya or living close to Meghalaya often cross the border just to buy petrol or diesel. Unlike smuggling liquor across state borders, filling up the vehicle’s fuel tank is a bit of a non-issue.
I suspect that a similar mechanism is at work at these two territories. People from neighbouring states pop in to buy fuel, as do travelers passing by or through these territories. Other territories such as Pondicherry and Dadra & Nagar Haveli (DNH) also show high per-capita sale of petroleum products.
DNH, which is the winner of the petroleum products consumption game, is a close neighbour of Daman (of Daman & Diu). These two territories (Daman and DNH) also lie in an industrial hub centered around Vapi, which in turn lies on the National Highway 8 that connects Mumbai and Delhi. I presume a very large number of long haul trucks refuel at DNH or at Daman, but probably more often at DNH.
With respect to Goa, a friend from the state provided two hypotheses:
- The West coast highway runs from Kerala to Mumbai. This has an impact similar to the highway through Vapi.
- High per capita income, which among other things means that using cooking gas is comparatively more common in Goa.
I can’t confirm the cooking gas story, but as could be expected, income does impact consumption of petroleum products. (Using 2010-11 data for the income, because data for a few territories weren’t available for 2011-12.)
Per capita income by state (2010-11) vs. Per capita petroleum product consumption (2011-12)
However, the demand in Goa still stands out. Probably the highway effect at work.
I have one major question left, which I have no clue about: Why did the consumption in 2010-11 in DNH suddenly jump from ~800 to ~1300 before dropping back to the old level the next year.
Anyway, when I initially started thinking about the consumption pattern (when I erred and thought that DD, a tourist hotspot, was at the top of the list and not DNH) I started wondering about the average proportion of tourists compared to population. I wondered whether the tourist population was so large that it skewed the sales of petroleum products.
The website of Goa’s Department of Tourism is quite helpful. In 2012, the last year with full data, the tourist arrivals was: 2337499 domestic and 450530 foreign. Average duration of stay for domestic tourists was 5 days, and 9 days for foreign tourists. So, about 43011 man-years of tourist stay – or an average of about 43000 tourists on any given day. Assuming the same average length of stay, the figure for 2011 was about 41500. The 40K average number makes sense given that total number of beds across hotels and guesthouses is about 50K.
Population of Goa in 2011 was 1457723, which means that on an average, number of people in Goa goes up by about 3% because of tourists. Significant, but not a huge addition.
This, of course, ignores the seasonal effect of tourism, since Goa gets most of the visitors during the winter months. Consider for example the picture from the tweet below: