On Monday, fuel prices were raised for the 16th consecutive day by state-owned oil marketing companies. In Delhi, petrol price was raised by 33 paise to Rs 79.56 per litre and diesel price was hiked sharply by 58 paise to a new all-time high of Rs 78.85/litre.
The recent back-to-back increase in rates by oil marketing companies like Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and HP, only adds to the consumers' burden of a rise in state and central government taxes on fuel. In fact, rates in the National Capital is the least among metro cities of India.
In comparison, petrol prices per litre were raised to Rs 86.36 in Mumbai, Rs 82.87 in Chennai, Rs 82.15 in Bengaluru and Rs 81.27 in Kolkata.
Diesel prices per litre were hiked to Rs 77.24 in Mumbai, Rs 76.30 in Chennai, Rs 74.98 in Bengaluru and Rs 74.14 in Kolkata.
While diesel had already peaked to new record highs last week, petrol prices are close to the all-time high rates last seen in October 2018 when international oil prices had spiked close to $80 per barrel. In October 2018, petrol price in Mumbai had crossed Rs 90-mark and in Delhi, it was around Rs 83 per litre.
Whereas, on Monday, Brent crude, the international benchmark for crude oil prices, was trading at $42.28 a barrel.
The present spike in fuel prices in India could be attributed to the fact that central and state governments, along with oil marketing companies are looking to make up for their loss in revenues due to the lockdown and slowdown in economic activity.
Fuel prices are revised by state-owned oil marketers on a daily basis, however, this revision was paused for 82 days amid the nationwide lockdown despite global crude oil prices falling to multi-year lows. These rates are based on international oil prices, forex rate and central, state/ local taxes.
On 6 June, the daily revision has resumed as fuel demand has recovered by 75-80 percent of pre-coronavirus period.
Meanwhile, last month, the central government had increased the excise duty on per litre of petrol by Rs 10 and per litre of diesel by Rs 13. Several state governments have also hiked their VAT or cess on fuel in the last month. In fact, now around 70 percent of the retail price of fuel is just some form of tax, depleting consumption budgets of common households in the country.