Fuel prices cut; less cheer for people

Fuel prices cut; less cheer for people

Excise duty hike, depreciation against $ curtail benefits to consumers

Fuel prices cut; less cheer for people

The government on Friday deprived consumers the benefit of a steep cut in fuel prices by hiking excise duty again, the fourth in three months, after oil companies slashed petrol prices by Rs 2.42 and diesel by Rs 2.25 effective Friday-Saturday midnight.

The cut in rates comes after global crude oil prices slumped to $46 a barrel.
Through the hike in excise duty in the past three months, the government has mopped up close to Rs 20,000 crore.

The consumers, however, have been denied the benefit of lowered crude prices by Rs 8 per litre on petrol and Rs 6.50 per litre on diesel due to the successive hikes in excise duty.
In Bengaluru, petrol will now cost Rs 64.72 a litre down from Rs 67.27. Diesel will cost Rs 52.49 a litre as against Rs 54.88 previously.

As per the practice of revising rates every fortnight, state-owned fuel retailers were expected to announce a cut in petrol and diesel prices on Thursday.

The oil companies skipped the revision and announced it almost simultaneously with the government’s decision to raise the excise levies.

The fall in international oil prices should have warranted Rs 3-4 per litre reduction but some of the gains were taken away by depreciation in the rupee against the dollar, said Chairman of Indian Oil Corporation B Ashok.

“We are always keeping track of these things (fall in crude oil prices). We will have to do price revision at the appropriate time,” he said. 

“While the fall in global oil rates is a boon for consumers, for oil companies it has meant over Rs 12,000 crore of inventory losses,” Ashok said.

“There is a huge drop in crude prices which is having a tremendous impact on our inventories, it is a cash loss,” he added.

Petrol prices were last cut by Rs 2 per litre on December 16. Meanwhile, the Congress criticised the decision to hike excise duty saying it was “unjustified” and amounts to committing “fraud”.
DH News Service

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