Using sales data to assess cooking gas adoption and the impact of India’s Ujjwala programme in rural Karnataka


More than 70 million poor women in India have received liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stoves within the first 35 months under a government programme, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). Here, we analyse multi-year LPG sales data from a district in Karnataka to assess enrolment and consumption trends for both PMUY beneficiaries and general (non-PMUY) rural consumers. We find rapid growth in enrolments of LPG consumers, but this is not matched by an increase in LPG sales, suggesting that LPG access has not induced a full transition away from the use of polluting solid fuels. The number of LPG refills among PMUY beneficiaries is less than half that of rural general consumers. We also find no observable increase in LPG consumption among general rural consumers with years of experience. These results suggest that mid-course policy revisions to encourage regular LPG use are needed for both PMUY and general rural consumers.

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Fig. 1: Monthly LPG consumer growth.
Fig. 2: PMUY consumer growth and daily refill sales.
Fig. 3: Monthly refill sales trends.
Fig. 4: LPG consumption in the first customer year.
Fig. 5: LPG consumption distribution as a function of experience.
Fig. 6: Relative change in LPG consumption with experience.

Data availability

The authors do not have ownership over the LPG sales data downloaded from the Indian Oil Corporation system. Researchers who seek access to the raw data to replicate this study or to perform other analyses should contact the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and/or IOCL.

Code availability

All the code and plots that were generated for this research, irrespective of whether they were used in the paper, are available via Figshare at (Supplementary Code 1) and (Supplementary Code 2). For state-wise data analysis for PMUY consumer use, refer to Supplementary Code 145. For Koppal sub-district LPG sales data-based analysis, refer to Supplementary Code 246.


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This article was developed under Assistance Agreement No. 83542102 awarded by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to R.B. (sub-award to H.Z.). The EPA has not formally reviewed it. The views expressed in this document are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Agency. EPA does not endorse any products or commercial services mentioned in this publication. Part of the research was developed by A.K. during his time in the Young Scientists Summer Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria, with financial support from the German National Member Organization. A.K. and H.Z. acknowledge support from the Wall Solutions Initiative provided by the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, the ‘Collaborative Research and Training Experience- Atmospheric Aerosol Program’ (CREATE-AAP) at the University of British Columbia and the Clean Cooking Alliance (United Nations Foundation). Access to data and interviews with officials from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India, IOCL, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd was indispensable to this study. The authors are also indebted to the staff of the partner non-governmental organization SAMUHA for assistance with data collection. The authors also thank M. Brauer and S. Mehta for their feedback on the early drafts of the paper.

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A.K., S.P. and H.Z. designed the study. A.K. performed the data cleaning and coding. A.K., S.P., R.B. and H.Z. contributed to the writing of the paper.

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Correspondence to Abhishek Kar.

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Kar, A., Pachauri, S., Bailis, R. et al. Using sales data to assess cooking gas adoption and the impact of India’s Ujjwala programme in rural Karnataka. Nat Energy 4, 806–814 (2019).

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