India

Petrol, diesel prices remain unchanged for seventh consecutive day

 

Petrol and diesel prices in the metros remained unchanged for the seventh consecutive day on Wednesday.

With prices on hold on Wednesday, petrol continued to be available at a new record high of Rs 86.30 a litre in Delhi, while diesel at Rs 76.48 a litre.

In Mumbai, petrol was priced at Rs 92.86 a litre, while in Chennai, it was at Rs 88.82 a litre, and in Kolkata Rs 87.69 a litre.

Diesel, on the other hand, is selling at Rs 83.30 a litre in Mumbai, Rs 81.71 a litre in Chennai, and Rs 80.08 a litre in Kolkata.

The budget levy of new agriculture infrastructure and development cess on petrol and diesel has not had an impact on the fuels’ retail prices, as oil marketing companies (OMCs) took cognizance of the fact that additional duty has been offset by an equal cut in excise duty rates.

The OMCs also ignored the signals given by the international market where oil prices rose sharply by over 1 per cent nearing $57 a barrel. This would normally have pushed OMCs to raise petrol and diesel prices to reduce their under-recovery.

Though firm global crude and product price is the reason for the increase in the retail prices of petrol and diesel, with crude hovering just over $55 a barrel for some time now, OMCs have gone in for both a pause in the prices of auto fuels as well as increase in their retail prices on consecutive days.

Crude prices have remained firm for the last few weeks in the wake of unilateral production cuts announced by Saudi Arabia and a pick-up in consumption in all major economies globally.

Petrol and diesel prices have increased 10 times in January, by Rs 2.59 and Rs 2.61 per litre respectively.

The last few increases in pump prices of petrol and diesel have taken their rates to record levels in all major metro cities and other towns. The last time the retail prices of auto fuels were closer to the current levels was on 4 October 2018 when crude prices had shot up $80 a barrel.

The current price rise is largely on account of steep increase in central taxes on petrol and diesel and firm crude prices.

Petrol price came close to breaching the all-time high of Rs 84 a litre (reached on 4 October 2018) when it touched Rs 83.71 a litre on 7 December 2020. But the march was halted with no price revision by the OMCs in that month. The price rise restarted only on 6 January.

(With inputs from agencies)