Petrol is just a few paise short of crossing the Rs 90 mark in Mumbai. While petrol has reached Rs 89.82 in Mumbai on Thursday, it has taken a 6-paise jump in the national capital to reach Rs 82.22 per litre. Diesel prices have not been increased in Delhi, while diesel is up by 7 paise in Mumbai at Rs 77.06. In Chennai, petrol is priced Rs 85.70, up 29 paise, and diesel is priced Rs 78.31, which is 21 paise increase from Wednesday's price. Petrol has taken a 3 paise jump in Kolkata to reach Rs 84.4, while diesel is Rs 75.72.
Since September 1, petrol prices have gone up by over Rs 3.78 per litre in Mumbai, while diesel rates have increased by Rs 3.57 per litre; petrol and diesel both have shown a similar trend all across India. All-time high prices of fuel coupled with falling value of rupee -- which fell to an all-time low of Rs 72.91 on September 12 -- have dented the Modi government's image, with the Opposition taking to streets to protest against the government's inability to contain the prices of fuel.
Experts suggest the government's refusal to reduce the excise duty stems from the fact that it has proposed a wide-ranging expenditure on the social outreach and empowerment schemes of the government in Union Budget 2018-19. Even Re 1 cut on petrol means taking a hit of around Rs 14,000 crore, which will hurt its spending capability. The Centre currently levies a total excise duty of Rs 19.48 per litre on petrol and Rs 15.33 per litre on diesel.
The government is expected to soon announce import curbs by increasing customs duty on several 'non-essential items' to ease the pressure on falling value of rupee and to keep the widening Current Account Deficit (CAD) on a check, which could have some impacts on oil prices. Reports suggest the first wave of import curbs could include items like luxury cars, high-end mobiles, steel, aluminium, electronic items, furniture, dry fruits and alcoholic beverages. However, the government might spare gold -- which faces a basic customs duty of 10% -- ahead of the festive season, which sees a huge gold import every year. Crude oil international benchmark Brent Crude was priced at $79.65 per barrel on Tuesday, while WTI Crude Oil hovered around Rs 71.67 per barrel.