There seems to be no respite for the common man as fuel prices continue to surge. Fuel rates reached record high levels in the past seven days. In Delhi, petrol has inched closer to Rs 90, whereas, in several cities of Rajasthan and Madha Pradesh, it is almost on the verge of crossing Rs 100 per litre. In the past one week, petrol and diesel prices have increased by Rs 2.04 per litre in the national capital. And overall in February, fuel rates have risen by Rs 2.69 per litre so far.
In the past 24 hours, the petrol price has been increased by 26 paise and diesel by 29 paise in the national capital. On February 15, cost of 1 litre of petrol climbed to Rs 88.99 per litre, and diesel to Rs 79.35 per litre in Delhi.
In various cities of Rajasthan, like in Hanumangarh, Ganganagar, and Jaisalmer, petrol reached Rs 98.22/litre, Rs 99.26/litre, and Rs 97.73/litre, respectively as of February 15.
In Madhya Pradesh, petrol price is set to cross Rs 100 mark in several cities. For example, in Sidhi, petrol jumped to Rs 98.14/litre, in Shahdol Rs 98.67/litre, Khandwa Rs 98.31/litre, Raisen Rs 98.63/litre, Satna Rs 98.58/litre, and Chhatarpur Rs 98.39/litre, etc. Price of 1 litre of petrol reached above Rs 98 in at least 23 cities on February 15.
Both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have one of the highest Value-Added Tax (VAT) on fuel in the country. With around 39 per cent VAT, MP levies the highest tax on petrol and diesel prices. The Rajasthan government had late last month cut VAT on petrol and diesel by 2 per cent. Despite this, the state has VAT at 36 per cent plus Rs 1,500 per kilolitre road cess on petrol. On diesel, the state levies 26 per cent and Rs 1,750 per kl road cess.
In metro cities also, petrol and diesel rates have continued to flare up. In Mumbai, petrol is retailed at Rs 95.46 per litre, for Rs 91.19 in Chennai and Rs 90.25 in Kolkata. Diesel costs Rs 86.34 per litre in Mumbai, Rs 84.44 per litre in Chennai and Rs 82.94 per litre in Kolkata, according to the Indian Oil price notification.
The relentless hike in prices has been criticised by the opposition parties including Congress that has demanded an immediate cut in taxes to ease the burden on the common man. However, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan last week had told Parliament that the government is not considering a reduction in excise duty.
Rates have risen as international oil prices touched $61 per barrel for the first time in more than a year on improving demand outlook amid the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, he had said. On Monday, February 15, brent crude was up 66 cents, or 1.1 per cent, at $63.09 a barrel at 5:34 am.
Central and state taxes make up for over 61 per cent of the retail selling price of petrol and about 56 per cent of diesel.
The union government levies Rs 32.9 per litre of excise duty on petrol and Rs Rs 31.80 a litre on diesel. Retail petrol rates have risen by Rs 19.42 per litre since mid-March 2020, after the government raised taxes by a record margin to mop up gains arising from fall in international oil prices. Diesel rates have gone up by Rs 17.03.