Petrol and diesel prices witnessed the steepest single-day hike in several months on the Republic Day on Tuesday as oil marketing companies raised the prices of the two auto fuels by 35 paise per litre.
With the latest increase, petrol is available at a record high of Rs 86.05 a litre in Delhi and diesel at Rs 76.23 a litre.
Fuel prices increased sharply elsewhere in the country as well, but the retail hike varied from state to state due to quantum of taxes levied on petroleum products there.
In Mumbai, petrol price inched towards Rs 93 a litre and in Chennai near Rs 89 per litre. In Kolkata, it was within touching distance of Rs 88 a litre. Diesel on the other hand was nearing Rs 83 a litre in Mumbai, Rs 81.5 in Chennai and Rs 80 in Kolkata.
Though firm global crude and product prices led to latest increase in retail prices of petrol and diesel, it is interesting to note that even though crude has been hovering just over $55 a barrel for some time now, OMCs have gone in for both a pause in price hike of auto fuels as well as increase its retail prices on consecutive days.
Crude price have remained firm for the last few weeks in the wake of unilateral production cuts announced by Saudi Arabia and a pick-up in consumption in all major economies worldwide.
The petrol and diesel prices have increased nine times in January with the two auto fuels increasing by Rs 2.34 and Rs 2.36 per litre respectively.
The last few increases in pump prices of petrol and diesel have taken the prices to record levels in all major metro cities and other towns across the country. The last time the retail prices of auto fuels were closer to current levels was on October 4, 2018 when crude prices had shot up up to $80 a barrel.
The current price rise is largely on account of steep increase in central taxes on petrol and diesel and firm crude prices.
Petrol price was very close to breaching an all-time high of Rs 84 a litre (October 4, 2018) when it touched Rs 83.71 a litre on December 7, 2020. But the upward swing was halted ever since with no price revision by the OMCs in the month. The price rise started again only on January 6.
Oil companies' executives said that petrol and diesel prices may increase further in the coming days as retail prices may have to be balanced with global developments to prevent OMCs from making losses on the sale of auto fuels.