Petrol and diesel prices, which started rising after the assembly election results in five states were announced on May 2, are not abating. Oil marketing companies hiked fuel prices for the sixth time on Tuesday since May 4. Curiously, fuel prices had remained stagnant during the election period with no change in prices for 18 days from April 16 to May 3
In six increases, petrol price has risen by Rs 1.41 per litre and diesel by Rs 1.63 -- more than neutralising all the reduction that came between March 24 and April 15.
After raising petrol price by a record Rs 21.58 per litre and diesel by Rs 19.18 since the government raised excise duty to an all-time high in March last year, state-owned fuel retailers -- IOC, BPCL and HPCL -- had reduced petrol price by 67 paise a litre and diesel by 74 paise per litre between March 24 and April 15.
Oil companies, who have in recent months resorted to unexplained freeze in rate revision, had hit a pause button after cutting prices marginally on April 15. This coincided with electioneering hitting peak to elect new governments in five states including West Bengal.
While voting for Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry assemblies took place on April 6, that for Assam was held in three phases from March 27 to April 6. West Bengal, where the BJP had pinned hopes on coming to power by defeating incumbent TMC government, went for voting in eight phases between March 27 to April 29. Counting for all five state assemblies took place on May 2.
The oil marketing companies started increasing fuel prices from May 4, two days after counting of votes. Petrol and diesel prices were hiked for the second consecutive day on Tuesday. While petrol price was increased by 27 paise per litre to Rs 91.80 in Delhi, diesel got costlier by 30 paise per litre to Rs 82.36.
Among the metros, fuel prices are the highest in Mumbai. While a litre of petrol will cost Rs 98.12 in the country's financial capital after the latest hike, diesel will cost Rs 89.48 per litre.
Petrol price has already crossed Rs 100 per litre mark in some cities of Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, and Mumbai may also join the list if the price hikes continue for few more days.
In Maharashtra's Parbhani, petrol costs Rs 100.50 per litre, while it is being sold at Rs 102.40 in Madhya Pradesh's Anuppur. In Rajasthan's Sri Ganganagar, a litre of petrol costs Rs 102.70 per litre.
This is the second time this year that rates in some parts have crossed the Rs 100 per litre mark. Earlier in mid-February, the rates had crossed Rs 100 mark in some cities.
Fuel prices differ from state to state depending on the incidence of local taxes such as VAT and freight charges. Rajasthan levies the highest value-added tax (VAT) on petrol in the country, followed by Madhya Pradesh.
Oil marketing companies have attributed the increase in fuel price to firming trends in international oil markets. They said prices have been on a continuous uptrend since April 27, with crude oil hovering near USD 70-per-barrel mark.