Petrol and diesel prices on February 14 were kept unchanged after reduction for six straight days. The prices were slashed after the benchmark Brent crude oil price fell down to a two-month low. Petrol prices in four metro cities were: Delhi Rs 72.94 per litre; Kolkata Rs 75.64; Mumbai Rs 80.81; Chennai Rs 75.65. Diesel prices in four metro cities were: Delhi Rs 63.50 per litre; Kolkata Rs 66.17; Mumbai Rs 67.62; Chennai Rs 66.96 — same as Tuesday.
The Brent crude oil price hit a two-month low but surged by 13 cents to $62.72 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was recorded 10 cents lower at $59.19 a barrel. Although crude oil prices alone do not decide the fuel prices in India, however, they are one of the several prime factors in swinging prices either way.
At this crude oil price level, as FE Online reported on Tuesday, the fuel prices are more than what they were in the month of November and December. When the Brent was between $62 and $63 a barrel, petrol prices in Delhi were up to Rs 69.61 per litre, while now they are now at Rs 72.94 per litre. Similarly, diesel prices were much lower than what they are today.
Petrol prices are still at four-high and in Mumbai above Rs 80 a litre and diesel prices slightly lower than record high last month. The government has indicated that it is not planning any tax cut in immediate future to cushion the impact of higher fuel price. The oil ministry had asked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to announced some relief in the Budget 2018, however, it is understood that little fiscal space did not allow him to do so.
In the last four years, on back of low crude oil price, the government hiked excised duty by Rs 12 per litre on petrol and Rs 13.77 on diesel before slashing it by Rs 2 per litre in October last year. Since then crude oil price surged by $16 a barrel and then slumped by $8, while petrol price surged by Rs 5 per litre and fell by less than Rs 2 and diesel prices surged by Rs 7 a litre and fell by about Re 1.
Since June 16, 2017, petrol and diesel prices are being changed between 1 paisa and 15 paise as daily revision, which goes largely unnoticed as compared to bigger changes that were made under the previous fortnightly revision system.