Petrol, diesel rates: IOC says oil PSUs froze fuel prices to avoid consumer pain

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Updated: May 8, 2018 7:29:44 PM

With oil PSUs deciding not to hike petrol and diesel prices ahead of Karnataka elections, IOC Chairman Sanjiv Singh today said the company has decided to "temporarily moderate" prices to avoid sharp spikes and panic among consumers.

bs vi fuel, delhi ncr, supreme court, governmentState-owned oil firms have since April 24 not changed petrol and diesel prices. (Reuters)

With oil PSUs deciding not to hike petrol and diesel prices ahead of Karnataka elections, IOC Chairman Sanjiv Singh today said the company has decided to “temporarily moderate” prices to avoid sharp spikes and panic among consumers. State-owned oil firms have since April 24 not changed petrol and diesel prices despite benchmark international product rates going up by nearly $3 per barrel.

Separately, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the government has nothing to do with fuel pricing after it deregulated and gave PSUs freedom to fix retail rates. Singh however indicated that retail prices will rise if the current trend in international oil prices continues. Karnataka goes to polls on May 12.

“We have decided to temporarily moderate retail prices by not passing on the required increase as we believe the current international oil product prices are not supported by fundamentals. So we have decided to wait for a while,” Singh told reporters on sidelines of an industry event here.The freeze in fuel prices follows the finance ministry’s refusal to cut excise duty to give relief to the common man after petrol hit a 55-month high of Rs 74.63 a litre and diesel touched a record high of Rs 65.93.

“We can pass on daily spikes based on the freedom we have to revise prices on a daily basis. But we believe the surge in international oil products market is not supported by fundamentals and passing them on to consumers will unnecessarily create panic,” Singh said. “So we moderate to a certain extent so that peaks are avoided.”Asked about all the three PSU oil firms fixing retail rates in tandem, he said it was possible that all of them thought that the spike in international oil prices is not supported by fundamentals and needs to be moderated.

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