Petrol price hits a record high in Mumbai

Anna Jefferson
September 4, 2018

The rupee collapsed to a new lifetime low of 71.21 against the USA dollar, while petrol prices rose to a new high of Rs 86.56 a litre in Mumbai on Monday.

Petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan had on Sunday blamed "external factors" for the rise in domestic prices of petrol and diesel, adding that this phase could be a temporary one.

Petrol and diesel prices in Delhi have increased by 13% and 19% this calendar year so far.

This follows a 31 paise/litre hike in prices on Monday.

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Petrol price has risen by Rs 2.17 per litre since August 16 while diesel rates have climbed by Rs 2.62 - the biggest increase in rates witnessed in any fortnight since the launch of daily price revision in mid-June previous year.

Fuel rates have been on fire since the middle of August, rising nearly every day due to a combination of a drop in the value of the rupee and rise in crude oil rates.

The department said the sustained hikes in fuel prices over the past few months have placed a strain on consumers. The excise duty on petrol increased from Rs 9.48 per litre to a high of Rs 21.48 per litre by January 2016.

The rupee has already depreciated by over Rs 2.5 in August alone hitting an all-time low of 71.37 to the dollar. "I would like to mention two points, and both these subjects are external".

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The Centre is unlikely to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel despite sky-rocekting fuel prices pummelled by a sliding rupee as the government intends to remain focussed on fiscal prudence, a top government official said on Tuesday. This came at a time when India's crude oil imports from Iran had increased by 52 percent in June 2018. "Secondly, global currencies have weakened against the United States dollar", Pradhan had said in Surat.

The Central Excise Duty is levied by the central government.

Commenting on the relentless price rise, former finance minister P Chidambaram said: "Relentless rise in prices of petrol and diesel is not inevitable".

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