Petrol, diesel prices up by 35p per litre after week’s pause

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New Delhi: Petrol and diesel prices rose sharply by 35 paise per litre on Thursday after oil marketing companies decided to break a week-long pause in price revision, taking note of a surge in global oil prices as benchmark Brent crude touched $59 a barrel.

Accordingly, retail price of diesel increased to Rs 76.83 a litre in Delhi from earlier Rs 76.48. Petrol price reached another new high of Rs 86.65 a litre as against Rs 86.30 prevailing in the national capital since January 27.

The fuel prices increased close to 35 paise per litre, but the exact amount varied from state to state depending on their local levies.

Though firm global crude and product prices led to increase in retail prices of petrol and diesel, it is interesting to note that even though the crude has been hovering just over $55 a barrel for a long time, OMCs had paused increase in prices of auto fuels. The present increase comes after over $3 a barrel increase in crude prices in just a few days.

Crude price 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 11 times in 2021, with the two auto fuels increasing by Rs 2.94 and Rs 2.96 per litre respectively so far.

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

The current price rise is largely on account of steep increase in central taxes on petrol and diesel, apart from firm crude prices internationally. The Union Budget 2021-22 has also imposed a new agricultural infrastructure and development cess on the fuels.

Petrol prices were very close to breaching an all-time high of Rs 84 a litre (reached on October 4, 2018) when these touched Rs 83.71 on December 7, 2020. But the upward march was halted ever since as no price revision was announced by the Indian OMCs in the month. The price uptick started again only on January 6.

Oil companies’ executives said that petrol and diesel prices may increase further in the coming days as retail prices may have to be balanced in line with global developments to prevent the OMCs from losing money on the sale of auto fuels.

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