Oh dear fuel quit being so crude

New Delhi: Life is like a roller coaster ride. Ups and downs are a part and parcel of the game. If one thing, however, comes close to fitting the bill of a rather unpredictable roller coaster, the fuel prices in India would win hands down.

The Modi government has done quite a few things, but now, it just seems like it’s teasing us around. Did it slash the fuel prices as promised? Yes, it did. Did it also hike it? Yes.

And there, it has done it again.

The latest hike is the second straight one in a fortnight. While petrol prices were hiked by 3.13 per litre, diesel prices were raised by Rs 2.71 per litre, tracking global crude oil prices.

For Delhiites, petrol would cost Rs 66.29 per litre, while diesel would cost 52.28 per litre in Delhi.

Mumbaikars would end up paying Rs 74.12 for petrol and Rs 59.86 for diesel. Kolkata will shell out Rs 73.76 for petrol and Rs 56.85 for diesel.

In Bengaluru, one litre of petrol is now Rs 72.94 and diesel is priced at Rs 57.23 per litre.

And thanks to this new development, people are making a beeline for the pumps.

“The sudden changes affect our daily life. Now prices of other household things will increase and we have to bear with it too,” Surender Singh, a Gurgaon-based daily-wage earner, said. “These prices never go down when fuel rates are slashed. They just scale higher and higher,” he added.

The two consecutive hikes have wiped away more than one-third of the gains that consumers bagged when global rates began to fall in August last year.

Fuel prices were last revised on April 30, when petrol prices were hiked by Rs 3.96 per litre while diesel prices were increased by Rs 2.37 a litre.

“Since the last price change, there has been a steep increase in international prices of both petrol and diesel. INR-USD exchange rate has also depreciated quite significantly during this period. Combined impacts of both these factors warrant an upward revision in prices, the impact of which is being passed on to the consumers with this price increase,” Indian Oil said in a statement.

Petrol prices had been cumulatively cut by Rs 17.11 a litre in 10 reductions between August and February and diesel by Rs 12.96 a litre in 6 reductions between October and February.

State-owned fuel retailers IOC, Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) revise petrol and diesel prices on 1st and 16th of every month based on average imported cost and rupee-dollar exchange rate in the previous fortnight.

The international crude oil price of Indian Basket, as computed by Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas was $64.88 per barrel (bbl) on Thursday. This was lower than the price of $65.70 per bbl on previous publishing day of Wednesday.

Meanwhile, if compared globally, petrol price is cheaper in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, where a litre would cost Rs 44.05 and Rs 54.75 respectively. However, prices are high in Bangladesh and Nepal at Rs 76.97 per litre and Rs 68.13 a litre respectively.

Diesel at Rs 52.28 per litre in Delhi is however cheaper than all neighbouring nations except Sri Lanka and Pakistan, where it costs Rs 44.29 and Rs 51.15 for a litre. A litre of diesel in Bangladesh costs Rs 54.27 and in Nepal it is Rs 54.27.

 

Few initiatives which can provide long term benefits:

1. Fuel shift (Hybrid, CNG, non-motorised transport)

2. Modal shift (road freight transport to rail freight transport)

3. Energy Efficiency (vehicle fuel economy standards)

4. Demand side management, for e.g. car pooling

5. Better targeting of subsidies (subsidised kerosene for only BPL families and subsidised LPG for only domestic purposes)

6. Implementing a unified Goods and Services Tax (GST) across the country on petroleum products.

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