Fuel prices across India continues to surge with Monday becoming the ninth consecutive day of hikes in rates of both petrol and diesel. Oil companies had put daily revisions of prices on hold between March 16 and June 6 when a national lockdown was in place but since June 7 (last Monday) the rates have continuously maintained their upward trajectory.
In Delhi, petrol prices breached the ₹76-mark after a 48 paise hike on Monday. A litre of the fuel here now costs ₹76.26 per litre. Diesel rate was also hiked by 59 paise and now stands at ₹74.62 per litre.
In Mumbai, the rate is ₹83.17 and ₹73.21 per litre of petrol and diesel, respectively. In Kolkata, it is ₹78.10 and ₹70.33.
The price per litre of the two fuels vary from state to state because of different rates of local taxes and VAT imposed.
The northward movement of fuel prices has compounded troubles for the consumer at large with many complaining that their already tight household budgets in current Covid-19 times getting squeezed further.
The hikes have also had political ramifications with Congress targeting the Government and demanding that fuel prices be brought under the ambit of Goods and Services Tax. The party has said that the 12 hikes in excise duty by the Modi government since May 2014 on petroleum products should be withdrawn immediately until it is brought under the GST regime.
This, however, is unlikely to happen because of reported opposition from state governments who feel their revenue source could take a hit in such a case. Many state governments have hiked excise on the two fuels in recent weeks in a bid to deal with shrinking cash reserves owing to lockdown.
On a larger scale, the stabilizing prices of global crude rate after a historic fall in April has also meant that oil companies are now looking at cutting their losses. Industry experts had already predicted towards the end of May that daily revisions could be restarted and prices could see a hike by up to ₹6 per litre.
What impact rising fuel prices would have on vehicle sales remains to be seen but OEMs would surely also be monitoring the situation closely as they enter desperate times to revive sales.