Petrol price on Sunday was hiked by 50 paise a litre and diesel by 55 paise, taking the total increase in rates since resumption of daily price revision less than a week back to Rs 3.70-3.75 per litre.
Petrol in Delhi will now cost Rs 99.11 per litre as against Rs 98.61 previously while diesel rates have gone up from Rs 89.87 per litre to Rs 90.42, according to a price notification of state fuel retailers.
Rates have been increased across the country and vary from state to state depending upon the incidence of local taxation.
This is the fifth increase in prices since the ending of a four-and-half-month long hiatus in rate revision on March 22. On all the previous four occasions, prices had been increased by 80 paise a litre – the steepest single-day rise since the daily price revision was introduced in June 2017.
In all, petrol prices have gone up by Rs 3.70 per litre and diesel by Rs 3.75 in six days.
Prices had been on a freeze since November 4 ahead of the assembly elections in states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab — a period during which the cost of raw material (crude oil) soared by about USD 30 per barrel.
The rate revision was expected soon after counting of votes on March 10 but it was put off by a couple of weeks apparently to not give opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi a handle to say that they had rightly predicted that prices will go up after elections.
Congress and other opposition parties have criticised the government for the price rise saying it has added to the burden on common man reeling under general commodity price rise.
The increase in retail price warranted from crude oil prices rising during the 137 day hiatus from around USD 82 per barrel to USD 120 is huge but state-owned fuel retailers Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) are passing on the required increase in stages.
Moody’s Investors Services last week stated that state retailers together lost around USD 2.25 billion (Rs 19,000 crore) in revenue for keeping petrol and diesel prices on hold during the election period.
Oil companies “will need to raise diesel prices by Rs 13.1-24.9 per litre and Rs 10.6-22.3 a litre on gasoline (petrol) at an underlying crude price of USD 100-120 per barrel,” according to Kotak Institutional Equities.
CRISIL Research said a Rs 9-12 per litre increase in retail price will be required for a full pass-through of an average USD 100 per barrel crude oil and Rs 15-20 a litre hike if the average crude oil price rises to USD 110-120.
India is 85 per cent dependent on imports for meeting its oil needs and so retail rates adjust accordingly to the global movement.