Petrol price on Sunday was hiked by a record 62 paise per litre and that of diesel by 64 paise as oil companies for the eighth day in a row adjusted retail rates in line with cost since ending an 82-day hiatus in rate revision. Petrol price in Delhi was hiked to Rs 75.78 per litre from Rs 75.16 while diesel rates were increased to Rs 74.03 a litre from Rs 73.39, according to a price notification of state oil marketing companies. Rates have been increased across the country and vary from state to state depending on the incidence of local sales tax or VAT.
The 62 paise a litre increase in petrol and 64 paise hike in diesel price is the highest surge in rates since the daily price revision was started in June 2017. This is the eighth daily increase in rates in a row since oil companies on June 7 restarted revising prices in line with costs, after ending an 82-day hiatus.
In eight hikes, petrol price has gone up by Rs 4.52 per litre and diesel by Rs 4.64 — a record increase in rates in any eight days since the daily price revision was introduced. The freeze in rates was imposed in mid-March soon after the government hiked excise duty on petrol and diesel to shore up additional finances.
Oil PSUs Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL), instead of passing on the excise duty hikes to customers, adjusted them against the fall in the retail rates that was warranted because of international oil prices falling to two-decade lows.
The government had first raised excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 3 per litre each on March 14 and then again on May 5 by a record Rs 10 per litre in case of petrol and Rs 13 on diesel. The two hikes gave the government Rs 2 lakh crore in additional tax revenues.
State-owned fuel retailers IOC, BPCL and HPCL had frozen petrol and diesel prices since March 16, as if anticipating the government move and set off gains they accrued from continuing drop in international oil prices against the excise duty hike.
They, however, promptly passed the increase in local sales tax or VAT by state governments such as Rs 1.67 increase in VAT on petrol and Rs 7.10 in diesel by the Delhi government on May 4. The total incidence of excise duty on petrol has risen to Rs 32.98 per litre and that on diesel to Rs 31.83. The excise tax on petrol was Rs 9.48 per litre when the Narendra Modi government took office in 2014 and that on diesel was Rs 3.56 a litre. The government had between November 2014 and January 2016 raised excise duty on petrol and diesel on nine occasions to take away gains arising from plummeting global oil prices.
In all, duty on petrol rate was hiked by Rs 11.77 per litre and that on diesel by 13.47 a litre in those 15 months that helped government’s excise mop up more than double to Rs 2,42,000 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 99,000 crore in 2014-15. It cut excise duty by Rs 2 in October 2017 and by Rs 1.50 a year later. But it raised excise duty by Rs 2 per litre in July 2019. It again raised excise duty on March 14 by Rs 3 per litre.