Petrol, diesel prices lowered amid confusion

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NEW DELHI: In a confusion on Wednesday, from the Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), petrol and diesel prices were marginally lowered by a paisa per litre in the capital. Prior to this, the country’s largest fuel retailer had reported a bigger cut, as much as Re 1, in the fuel prices.

IOCL in a statement said: “There was a technical glitch in posting the selling prices of petrol and diesel. The selling prices of petrol and diesel with effect from May 30, 2018 have been rectified. Today, there is a minor reduction in fuel prices.”

After the minimal reduction in prices, a litre of petrol in Delhi now costs Rs 78.42 while diesel is sold at Rs 69.30. In all, petrol price was increased by Rs 3.8 per litre and diesel by Rs 3.38 during the fortnight. Since May 14, the minor cut in the fuel prices is the first in 16 days when fuel retailers ended a 19-day pre-Karnataka poll hiatus to pass on a spike in global oil rates.

Prices vary from state to state depending on local sales tax or VAT (value-added tax). On Tuesday, fuel rates had touched an all time high of Rs 78.43 per litre for petrol and Rs 69.31 a litre for diesel in Delhi. Delhi has the cheapest price among all metros and most state capitals.

Oil companies use 15-day rolling average of Singapore gasoline prices and Arab Gulf diesel prices to arrive at daily rates and so the fall in international oil rates seen in the last few days would be factored in for the revisions in the coming days, a senior IOCL official said.

Today the effective price effective is based on average international rate from May 15 to May 29. For tomorrow’s rate, the average from May 16 to May 30 will be taken.

Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg had on Monday hinted that fuel prices are expected to cool in the next two or three days.

The state cabinet has decided to forgo Re 1 each from the state tax on petrol and diesel. On the other hand, Kerala government decided to lower the fuel price by Re 1 per litre, in the state with effect from June 1 onwards.

“The state exchequer would lose Rs 509 crore per annum by reducing the tax share by Re 1 per litre. Any further hike on petroleum products in the state would be eligible for this one rupee cut per litre. Our decision to forgo a portion of the tax revenue, even during the period of financial precariousness should work as an eye opener for the union government, which, so far, has not taken any steps to control the fuel price in the country,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

India’s three state-run fuel retailers – IOC, BPCL (Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited) and HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited) – control most of India’s fuel retail market and tend to move their fuel prices in tandem.

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