Petrol, diesel prices at three-year high

Fuel prices have been on a constant rise with petrol prices shooting up by nearly Rs 7-8 on Wednesday

Fuel prices have been on a constant rise with petrol prices shooting up by nearly Rs 7-8 on Wednesday

Petrol has become costlier by Rs 7 per litre since July, pushing pump prices to their three-year high in cities such as Mumbai as high level of state taxes amplified the impact of rise in worldwide prices.

India relies on imports to meet 80% of its needs and so domestic fuel rates have been aligned to the movement of equivalent product prices in the worldwide market since April 2002.

When calculated on the basis of Nielsen consumption data, trucker users had borne largest tax burden by paying approximately Rs 34,735 crore in additional levy in FY16-17, followed by two-wheeler users who paid Rs 23,210 crore of additional tax, private diesel cars Rs 16,168 crore, private petrol cars 12,973 crore among others.

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Meanwhile, due to the daily revision price policy, petrol in Mumbai on Wednesday cost Rs 79.48 a litre.

The spike in global crude oil prices is testing the government's resolve to continue on the path of complete deregulation of fuel as fiscal deficit restrain New Delhi from rolling back excise duties, while inflation inches up, according to a senior finance ministry official.

Indian fuel retailers such as Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum started daily revision of prices of petrol and diesel from the middle of June, replacing the previous practice of fortnightly revision.

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Pradhan said that the prices of petrol and diesel would stabilise if brought under the Goods and Services Tax regime. "There has been a 13% decline in the global refining capacity during August due to hurricanes Harvey and Irma", the minister said.

This netted the government Rs 37,789.26 crore from petrol and Rs 1,22,956.80 crore from diesel in additional excise duty during the period between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017.

The two hurricanes to have hit the American shores in succession have hit the global refining capacity by as much as 13%, leading to a rise in the retail fuel prices in the worldwide markets, Dharmendra Pradhan said.

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"The government has no business to interfere in day-to-day operations of oil companies. government will interfere only to improve operational efficiency of oil companies", he said after meeting the heads of state-run firms. "We have to fund massive highways and road development plans, railway modernisation and expansion, rural sanitation, drinking water, primary healthcare and education. Where do we get resources for these", he said.

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