Mumbai/Delhi: In the past week alone, petrol prices across the country have gone up by 1-2 per cent while diesel prices are up 2 per cent in most major cities.
In Mumbai, price of a litre of non-branded petrol on Monday stood at Rs 80.10 per litre while diesel cost Rs 67.10, the highest since August 2014. Similarly, petrol prices in Kolkata and Chennai have gone up and are within kissing distance of Rs 75 - diesel prices are around Rs 66. Petrol price in Delhi is Rs 72.23 per litre and diesel Rs 63.
You can blame the price of Brent crude, which serves as the Asian benchmark, for this state of affairs. Prices on Monday stood at USD 68.89 a barrel, up 0.4 per cent from their last close, albeit much lower than the January 15 peak of USD 70.37.
The latest uptick follows comments from Saudi Arabia that major oil producers were in agreement that they should continue cooperating on production after their deal on supply cuts expires at the end of 2018. To remind you, a group of oil producers including OPEC and Russia, the world’s biggest crude producer, started to withhold production in January last year to prop up prices. Declining drilling activity for new oil production in the United States has further supported crude prices.
So any immediate relief for motorists will have to come from the government. Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday said that the government is “trying that petrol, diesel and kerosene should also come under the ambit of GST”.
He added that he is hopeful that the “GST Council will agree to it shortly”. Last Thursday, the GST Council meeting deferred the agenda on fuel prices to its next meeting.