Petrol, diesel prices cut by ₹2/litre ahead of polls | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Petrol, diesel prices cut by 2/litre ahead of polls

ByRajeev Jayaswal, New Delhi
Mar 15, 2024 04:17 AM IST

State-run oil marketing companies cut petrol and diesel prices by ₹2/litre, continuing pre-election incentives. Delhi prices: petrol ₹94.72, diesel ₹87.62.

State-run oil marketing companies slashed pump prices of petrol and diesel by 2 per litre from Friday, continuing a spree of pre-election incentives to consumers that saw reductions in the rates of cooking gas and compressed natural gas for automobiles earlier this month.

In Delhi, one litre of petrol will be sold for <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>94.72 and diesel at <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>87.62 from 6am on Friday. (HT Photo)
In Delhi, one litre of petrol will be sold for 94.72 and diesel at 87.62 from 6am on Friday. (HT Photo)

The news of slashing deregulated petrol and diesel rates was broken on social media platform X by the petroleum ministry late on Thursday night. In Delhi, one litre of petrol will be sold for 94.72 and diesel at 87.62 from 6am on Friday. Rates will vary from city to city due to differences in local levies. The ministry, however, said that the oil marketing companies (OMCs) informed it about the move to revise fuel rates.

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In a post on X, petroleum minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in Hindi, “By reducing the price of petrol and diesel by 2, the country’s accomplished Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi Ji has once again proved that the welfare and comfort of his family of crores of Indians is always his goal.” It is expected that some BJP-ruled states, such as Rajasthan, may cut value-added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel as was promised by the PM during the recent assembly polls, a government official said, requesting anonymity.

Auto fuel rates were changed for the first time after they were kept frozen for almost two years since April 6, 2022. HT on Sunday reported about an imminent automobile fuel price cut after the CNG rate was slashed by 2.50 a kg in regions such as Bengaluru, Patna, Ranchi and the Taj Trapezium Zone. Consumer prices of various types of fuel came down after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 8 announced a reduction in cooking gas price by 100 per cylinder as a gift to 320 million households on International Women’s Day.

“Reduction in petrol and diesel prices will boost consumer spending and reduce operating costs for over 58 lakh heavy goods vehicles running on diesel, 6 crore cars and 27 crore two-wheelers,” the oil ministry said on X. It said the reduced fuel prices will benefit citizens through a higher disposable income, controlling inflation, lowering the input costs of farmers, boosting tourism and enhancing profitability for the logistics, manufacturing, and retail sectors.

One executive of an oil marketing company (OMC) said, “The price cut was imminent due to decent profits earned by OMCs, but the timing and quantum were to be decided by the competent authority.” The executive requested anonymity. India’s fuel retail business is dominated by three state-run OMCs with over 90% market share – Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL).

The three oil marketers have posted about 70,000 crore net profit in the first three quarters of the current financial year, as against a combined net profit of 1,137.89 crore in the entirety of 2022-23, and are expected to make significant profits even in the three months to March as average international crude oil rates are more or less stable, another official said, requesting anonymity. IOC pumps of Delhi had kept prices of petrol at 96.72 per litre and diesel at 89.62 until Friday morning.

While India’s monthly average crude oil import cost (Indian basket) ranged between $74.98 a barrel in May 2023 and $93.5 per barrel in September 2023 in the current financial year. After the September peak, it fell to $77.42 in December 2023, $79.22 in January 2024, and $81.62 in February 2024, according to official data. The average price of the Indian basket was $83.04 a barrel in about first two weeks of March 2024.

OMCs froze petrol and diesel rates on April 6, 2022, to check international oil price volatility and the central government reduced excise duty twice (by 13 on petrol and 16 on diesel) to protect Indian consumers when average crude oil purchase prices of the Indian basket surged from $73.30 a barrel in December 2021 to $112.87 a barrel in March 2022, and further to $116.01 a barrel in June 2022.

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