New Delhi: Diesel prices touched an all-time high of Rs 64.58 and petrol prices hit a four-year high of Rs 73.73 a litre in Delhi on Sunday. As per a price notification, state-owned oil companies — Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation — raised the two prices by 18 paise per litre each.
Diesel price at Rs 64.58 is the highest ever, with the previous high of Rs 64.22 being on February 7, 2018. Petrol in the national capital now costs Rs 73.73 a litre, the highest since September 14, 2014, when rates had hit Rs 76.06. The decision on Sunday led to renewed calls for the government to cut excise tax rates, while the Delhiites complained against the hike. Since June, the prices are being revised on a daily basis.
The state-owned oil companies had in June last year dumped the 15-year old practice of revising rates on the 1st and 16th of every month. Instead, they adopted a daily price revision system to instantly reflect changes in cost.
The Oil ministry had earlier this year sought a reduction in excise duty on petrol and diesel to cushion the impact rising international oil rates but finance minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget presented on February 1 did not announce any such measure.
Mr Jaitley had raised excise duty nine times between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October last year by Rs 2 a litre. Subsequent to that excise duty reduction, the Centre had asked states to also lower VAT but just four of them — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh — reduced rates while others including BJP-ruled ones ignored the call.
The central government had cut excise duty by Rs 2 per litre in October 2017, when petrol price reached Rs 70.88 per litre in Delhi and diesel Rs 59.14.
Because of the reduction in excise duty, diesel prices had on October 4, 2017 come down to Rs 56.89 per litre and petrol to Rs 68.38 per litre. However, a global rally in crude prices pushed domestic fuel prices far higher than those levels.
The October 2017 excise duty cut cost the government Rs 26,000 crore in annual revenue and about `13,000 crore during the remaining part of the current fiscal year.