On Tuesday, fuel prices in India climbed for eighth straight day on the back of increased international crude prices and imposition of high indirect taxes by Centre and states. In Delhi, prices of petrol increased by 30 paise and diesel by 35 paise in the last 24 hours.
Following today's hike, a litre of petrol in Delhi costs Rs 89.29 and diesel Rs 79.70. Last year, on February 16, the retail selling price of petrol in Delhi was Rs 71.94 per litre whereas diesel was at Rs 64.70/litre. So far in February, petrol rates have shot up by Rs 2.99 per litre and diesel by Rs 3.04 per litre in the national capital.
On the other hand, in several districts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, petrol has almost neared Rs 100. In Madhya Pradesh's Balaghat, petrol surged to Rs 99.49 per litre and in Rajasthan's Sri Ganganagar and Hanumangarh petrol soared to Rs 99.45 and Rs 99.23 per litre on Tuesday. These are the highest retail price of auto fuels across the country.
In Mumbai, on Tuesday, petrol surged to Rs 95.75 per litre. In other metro cities, like in Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad, petrol's retailing price was Rs 91.45 per litre, Rs 90.54 per litre, and 92.84 per litre, respectively on February 16. For the first time in history, petrol prices have breached Rs 90 in Kolkata. On February 14, petrol price was at Rs 90.01/litre, and on February 15, it went up to Rs 90.25/litre in Kolkata.
Petrol and diesel prices vary from state to state and taxes are levied on them by both central as well as state governments.
The Reserve Bank of India in its February monetary policy underscored the concern of skyrocketing fuel prices. "Pump prices of petrol and diesel have reached historical highs. An unwinding of taxes on petroleum products by both the Centre and the states could ease the cost-push pressures," said the MPC in its statement. However, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in a reply in Rajya Sabha had said that the government was not currently looking at cutting taxes on petrol and diesel.
It must be noted that the government hiked the excise duty on petrol and diesel at the beginning of this fiscal in line with the reduced oil prices. The government increased taxes on petrol and diesel by Rs 13 and Rs 16, respectively, in two tranches. Excise duty on petrol was increased by Rs 3 per litre in March 2020 and by another Rs 10 per litre in May 2020 when global crude oil prices were below production costs.
Brent oil traded above $63 a barrel after rising 1.4 per cent on Monday as blackouts caused by weather in Texas disrupted flows from the biggest US shale patch. The global crude benchmark has climbed 22 per cent so far this year after Saudi Arabia announced deep output cuts.