Petrol prices have breached all-time high levels in the new year as rising global oil prices pushed fuel marketing companies to raise the pump price of auto fuels for the second time this year on Thursday.
Accordingly, petrol prices in Delhi increased by 23 paise a litre on Thursday, the second successive day of fuel price rise, to Rs 84.20 a litre from Rs 83.97 on the previous day. This is the highest level of retail price of petrol in the national capital after October 4, 2018, when its price had risen to Rs 84 a litre.
In other metros, though the price of petrol has not yet breached the all-time high levels, it has reached very close to that level and may cross it this week if fuel price increases further in coming days.
In Mumbai, petrol price increased to Rs 90.83 a litre on Thursday just 51 paise short of all-time high level of Rs 91.34 reached on October 4, 2018. In Chennai, the petrol price currently is Rs 86.96 a litre, a shade lower than historic high level of Rs 87.33 a litre.
Similarly, the petrol price also reached very close to record level of Rs 85.80 a litre in Kolkata increasing to Rs 85.68 a litre on Thursday.
With benchmark Brent crude on the rise for the past few days over the news of successful coronavirus vaccine and continuation of production cuts by OPEC+, fuel prices in India could see a further rise in coming weeks. Brent crude is currently trading at close to $55 a barrel, a $ 5 increase in just around a weeks time.
Along with petrol, oil marketing companies also increased the retail price of diesel on Thursday increasing it by 26 paise per litre in Delhi to Rs 74.38 a litre. Across the country as well the price of diesel increased at varied levels depending on the prevalent taxation structure.
The OMC’s patience of holding back fuel prices was broken on Wednesday when they increased the retail price of petrol and diesel for the first time this year after over a month-long pause.
The OMCs had gone on a pause mode last month at a time when the news of successful coronavirus and expectations of a big pick up in demand had kept crude on the boil with prices breaching $ 50 a barrel mark then.
Petrol price was very close to breaching the all-time high level of Rs 84 a litre (reached on October 4, 2018) when it touched Rs 83.71 a litre on December 7. But the march had been halted ever since then with no price revision by the OMCs.
With Thursday’s increase, fuel prices have now increased on 17 of the past 48 days with the petrol price rising by Rs 3.15 per litre and diesel by 3.92 a litre.
Earlier, petrol price had been static since September 22, and diesel rates hadn’t changed since October 2. It started rising in November and again went for a pause since December 8. Since then, it increased on January 6 and again on January 7.
Though retail pricing of petrol and diesel has been deregulated and oil marketing companies were following a daily price revision formula, the same was suspended for almost two months to prevent volatility in international oil markets from impacting fuel prices regularly during the pandemic.