Post-poll: Brace for up to Rs 5 and Rs 3 per litre raise in petrol, diesel prices

Last Updated: Wed, May 08, 2019 12:06 hrs
A gas pump is seen hanging from the ceiling at a petrol station in Seoul

New Delhi: Petrol and diesel prices may increase sharply soon after new government comes to power at the Centre with oil companies looking to raise the retail price of the two transport fuels between Rs 3-5 per litre in phases and make up for losses they incurred by keeping the prices at artificially low levels in the run up to elections 2019.

Government sources said that oil companies sold petrol at almost Rs 5 per litre discount and diesel at Rs 3 per litre discount in March and April when average crude oil price of Indian basket hit a high of about $ 67 a barrel and $ 71 barrel respectively. At this level of crude oil prices (of over $70 a barrel), petrol was priced at over Rs 78 a litre and diesel over Rs 70 a litre in August, 2018.

It is, however, priced at around Rs 73 and Rs 66.66 per litre now respectively suggesting that oil marketing companies (OMCs) losing again heavily on retail sale of the two products.

"Oil PSUs have avoided hiking oil prices in tandem with global crude rates for almost two months now and the pattern may well continue till the end of May when elections gets over. So, it would not come as a surprise if domestic oil prices witness a sharp spike after the election season comes to a close unless the new government issues fresh advisory to stagger the required hike to prevent a public outrage," said an energy sector expert of a global audit and consulting form who did not wish to be named.

OMCs have been soft on increasing petrol and diesel prices since the beginning of 2019 but it has become more pronounced from March when election dates were announced. Since March, there have been numerous days when both petrol and diesel prices have remained static despite sharp movement in global oil prices.

While experts term this a big loss for oil companies, officials in leading oil sector PSUs said that as the retail price of petrol and diesel are determined on the basis of global oil prices in trailing 15 day period and also as prices are determined on the basis of movement of international petrol and diesel prices and not crude oil, retail prices could remain static even through crude prices move.

While oil companies have built losses on sale of petrol and diesel by not carrying forward the requisite hikes during election time, they have not shied from passing any cut in retail price of the auto fuel when international crude price has shown some softening in the month of May. Petrol price has been cut by almost 7 paisa and diesel by 5 paisa since May 4.

"We have to remember companies like Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum, and Bharat petroleum are all government run companies. So even if petrol and diesel prices are, so called, freed from any administered control, government still continues to use its hold over the companies to get prices that they feel is right for a particular time," said an official source.

This is not the first time that government has controlled the price of petrol and diesel. During Karnataka state elections last year, petrol and diesel prices remained unchanged for a 19-day period despite rising global crude oil prices. And soon after polls, there was a non-stop 16-day hike period, resulting in an overall rise of approximately Rs 3.5 in both petrol and diesel rates.

The same trend was observed during the Gujarat elections in 2017 when oil PSUs had stopped revising/increasing fuel prices 14 days prior to polling.

(Sidebar to the story)

* Average crude price (Indian basket) in August 2018: $ 72 a barrel

* Petrol price in August: Rs 78.5 a litre in Delhi

* Diesel price In August: Rs 70 a litre in Delhi

* Average crude price (Indian basket) in April 2019: $71 a barrel

* Petrol price in April: Rs 73 a litre in Delhi

* Diesel price in April: Rs 66.5 a litre in Delhi

(Subhash Narayan can be contacted at subhash.n@ians.in)


State Capitals (Applicable from 6:00 a.m. on 08-05-2019) Petrol Current Price(Per Lt) Petrol Previous Price(Per Lt) Change(Rs)
Petrol price in New DelhiRs.73.00 Rs.73.00 0.00
Petrol price in KolkataRs.75.04 Rs.75.04 0.00
Petrol price in MumbaiRs.78.59 Rs.78.59 0.00
Petrol price in ChennaiRs.75.79 Rs.75.79 0.00
Petrol price in GurgaonRs.72.85 Rs.72.63 0.22
Petrol price in NoidaRs.72.29 Rs.72.34 -0.05
Petrol price in BangaloreRs.75.39 Rs.75.39 0.00
Petrol price in BhubaneswarRs.71.95 Rs.72.32 -0.37
Petrol price in ChandigarhRs.68.99 Rs.68.99 0.00
Petrol price in HyderabadRs.77.43 Rs.77.43 0.00
Petrol price in JaipurRs.73.59 Rs.74.24 -0.65
Petrol price in LucknowRs.72.31 Rs.72.16 0.15
Petrol price in PatnaRs.76.98 Rs.76.76 0.22
Petrol price in TrivandrumRs.76.23 Rs.76.24 -0.01
Petrol price in DelhiRs.73.00 Rs.73.00 0.00
Petrol price in KolkataRs.75.04 Rs.75.04 0.00
Petrol price in MumbaiRs.78.59 Rs.78.59 0.00
Petrol price in ChennaiRs.75.79 Rs.75.79 0.00
Petrol price in FaridabadRs.73.04 Rs.73.10 -0.06
Petrol price in GurgaonRs.72.63 Rs.72.85 -0.22
Petrol price in NoidaRs.72.38 Rs.72.29 0.09
Petrol price in GhaziabadRs.72.14 Rs.72.21 -0.07
Petrol price in AgartalaRs.72.94 Rs.72.94 0.00
Petrol price in AizwalRs.69.33 Rs.69.61 -0.28
Petrol price in AmbalaRs.72.54 Rs.72.58 -0.04
Petrol price in BangaloreRs.75.39 Rs.75.39 0.00
Petrol price in BhopalRs.75.91 Rs.76.18 -0.27
Petrol price in BhubhaneswarRs.71.84 Rs.71.95 -0.11
Petrol price in ChandigarhRs.68.99 Rs.68.99 0.00
Petrol price in DehradunRs.72.52 Rs.72.68 -0.16
Petrol price in GandhinagarRs.70.53 Rs.70.46 0.07
Petrol price in GangtokRs.76.35 Rs.76.35 0.00
Petrol price in GuwahatiRs.72.86 Rs.72.94 -0.08
Petrol price in HyderabadRs.77.43 Rs.77.43 0.00
Petrol price in ImphalRs.69.16 Rs.69.12 0.04
Petrol price in ItanagarRs.66.66 Rs.66.90 -0.24
Petrol price in JaipurRs.73.29 Rs.73.59 -0.30
Petrol price in JammuRs.74.42 Rs.74.42 0.00
Petrol price in JalandharRs.72.84 Rs.72.84 0.00
Petrol price in KohimaRs.71.44 Rs.71.44 0.00
Petrol price in LucknowRs.72.16 Rs.72.31 -0.15
Petrol price in PanjimRs.66.36 Rs.66.23 0.13
Petrol price in PatnaRs.77.19 Rs.76.98 0.21
Petrol price in Port BlairRs.63.08 Rs.63.08 0.00
Petrol price in RaipurRs.71.33 Rs.71.33 0.00
Petrol price in RanchiRs.71.45 Rs.71.27 0.18
Petrol price in ShillongRs.70.17 Rs.70.17 0.00
Petrol price in ShimlaRs.72.18 Rs.72.34 -0.16
Petrol price in SrinagarRs.77.40 Rs.77.40 0.00
Petrol price in TrivandrumRs.76.43 Rs.76.23 0.20
Petrol price in SilvassaRs.71.14 Rs.71.19 -0.05
Petrol price in DamanRs.71.20 Rs.71.17 0.03
Petrol price in PondicherryRs.72.11 Rs.72.15 -0.04