Petrol and diesel prices in the country on Saturday touched new all-time highs after rates were increased for the fourth time this week. Petrol and diesel prices were hiked by 25 paise per litre each, according to a price notification from oil marketing companies.
This took the petrol price in Delhi to Rs 85.70 per litre and in Mumbai to Rs 92.28. Diesel rate climbed to Rs 75.88 a litre in the national capital and to Rs 82.66 per litre in Mumbai, the price data showed.
This is the second consecutive day of rate increase and the fourth this week. In all prices have gone up by Re 1 per litre this week. Fuel prices, which vary from state to state depending on local sales tax or VAT, are now at record highs in the country, prompting cries for a cut in excise duty to ease the burden on consumers.
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan earlier this week blamed Saudi oil output cut for the surge in oil prices but remained non-committal on tax cuts. Top oil explorer Saudi Arabia has pledged additional voluntary output cuts of 1 million barrels per day in February and March, which has led to price climbing to most since the pandemic broke out.
State-owned fuel retailers — Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) — had on January 6 resumed daily price revision after nearly a month-long hiatus. Since then, rates have gone up by Rs 1.99 a litre on petrol and Rs 2.01 in case of diesel.
This comes after international oil prices firmed up on hopes of demand returning from the rollout of coronavirus vaccines in different countries, including India. Prior to the current highs triggered by the price hikes this month, fuel prices had last touched record high on October 4, 2018. At that time the government had cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 1.50 per litre in a bid to ease inflationary pressure and boost consumer confidence. Alongside, state-owned fuel retailers cut prices by another Re 1 a litre, which they recouped later.
This time, there are no indications of a duty cut so far. Petrol and diesel prices are revised on a daily basis in line with benchmark international price and foreign exchange rates.