Fuel price continues to rise, petrol up by 38 paise

Fuel prices record 13 revisions since last November

Wednesday also marked the tenth straight day of hikes in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, among other cities, in range of 14-34 paise a litre in case of petrol and 21-31 paise a litre in diesel.

The pump price of the two locally-refined fuels also include import tax on the two products which the government could tinker with to help customers, industry sources say. At present, the Centre levies Rs 19.48 a litre excise duty on petrol and Rs 15.33 diesel. If we go a decade back then in July 2008 worldwide crude oil rates were $142 per barrel which made petrol and diesel in the India to be sold at Rs 50.62 per litre and 34.86 per litre.

Presently, the state government charges 20 percent Value-Added Tax and 4 percent cess on both petrol and diesel. As per calculations done by the prime minister's chief economic adviser, Arvind Subramanian, in his latest economic survey, every $10/barrel rise in crude prices slows growth by 0.2-0.3 percentage points and fuels Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation by 1.7 per cent.

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Prices are highest in Mumbai, with the fuel being sold at Rs 84.99 per litre, followed by Chennai at Rs 80.11, and Kolkata at Rs 79.83. With fuel prices going up for the eleventh continuous day, demands to cut excise duty or state Value-Added Tax have grown louder.

The petrol and diesel prices in state capital Thiruvananthapuram has gone up by 38 and 24 paise respectively.

More than the rise in crude prices that hit $80 on 22 May, the highest in four years, it is the weakening rupee that is of concern. The kerosene price is revised every fortnight by few chheltrums, according to an employee with Bhutan Oil Distributor.

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Opposition leaders have criticised the government for failing to rein in rising fuel prices, a politically-sensitive issue in one of the world's biggest economies.

As per Indian Oil Corporation's price build-up data for fuels, the total tax component charged from consumers stands at 52 per cent for petrol and 42 per cent for diesel. This is happening because the petrol and diesel prices are broadly determined on the basis of crude oil price in the global market and on the rupee-dollar exchange rates. "Rising crude oil price, in itself, is going to have an impact on government's fiscal deficit". Petrol/diesel prices affect the common man directly. Time is at a premium.

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