The AAP demanded on Saturday that the Centre must reduce petrol and diesel prices in the wake of the reduced global crude oil prices, claiming that driving a vehicle in the country had been made more expensive than flying an aeroplane.
The comments came hours after the Centre hiked excise duty on petrol and diesel by a steep Rs 3 per litre each to garner about Rs 39,000 crore of additional revenue, repeating its 2014-15 move of not passing on gains arising from a slump in international oil prices.
"In the past few years, the Centre has increased the excise rate nearly 12 times," Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha said at a press conference. "Today, we are at a time when in our economy, the price of aviation fuel is cheaper than that of the per-litre price of petrol and diesel."
Benchmark crude oil prices are down to USD 32 per barrel as it crashed earlier this week by their biggest margin since the 1991 Gulf war amid a price war among major oil producers.
Petrol now costs Rs 69.87 a litre in Delhi and a litre of diesel comes for Rs 62.58, while the price of aviation fuel is Rs 56 per litre, Chadha said. "So today, it is cheaper to fly an aeroplane than driving a car."
"Today, in the global market, the price of crude oil has become the lowest in the last 15 years, but under the Modi government in India, the crude oil price has only increased," he said.
The AAP leader underlined that the fuel price hike came at a time the unemployment rate in the country had touched a record low and the economy was witnessing an "unprecedented" slowdown.
"The AAP demands that the Centre should give the complete benefit of the decreased price of crude oil in the global market and they should give the petrol in Rs 39.76 per litre and diesel in Rs 31.58 per litre," Chadha said.
"We also demand that the Centre should return the Rs 16-lakh crore, which they have earned by increasing the excise duty back to the people in the form of cheaper fuel prices," he added.