Fuel prices across the country were raised once again to fresh record highs amid pressure from the rupee's fall and increase in global crude oil rates. Petrol per litre on Friday was at Rs 79.99 in Delhi, Rs 82.88 in Kolkata, Rs 87.39 in Mumbai and Rs 83.13 in Chennai. Diesel per litre was raised to Rs 72.07 in Delhi, Rs 74.92 in Kolkata, Rs 76.51 in Mumbai and Rs 76.17 in Chennai. These rates are revised every day at 6 am by state-owned oil retailers.
There are also fears of stocking by vehicle owners ahead of the possible Bharath Bandh on 10 September. The strike is called by the Congress party asking the government to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel and include it under the GST system to bring uniformity of rates among all the states.
The VAT (Value Added Tax) imposed on these two petroleum fuels differs from state to state. Among metro cities, fuel is the cheapest in the national capital and the most expensive in Mumbai. The rates have not seen a day of decline since 15 August, with petrol being raised by Rs 2.85 per litre and diesel increased by Rs 3.35 since the day in Delhi.
Global rates have also remained high, lingering above the $75 a barrel mark. International benchmark Brent fell by 8 cents to $76.42/barrel. This has been pressurizing India's import bill as the country is dependent on foreign supply for over 80 percent of its domestic demand. The rupee continues to add pressure hovering at the 72/dollar rate. Experts say that the currency has been over valued and should be hitting 73 level to reach its actual value.