In a partial respite, petrol and diesel prices have not risen for the first time in 11 days. While oil marketing companies have retained Tuesday's rates, the prices continue to be at a life-time high, thanks to rising global crude oil prices and weak rupee against the dollar.
Petrol is retailing at a price of Rs 79.31 per litre in Delhi, Rs 86.72 in Mumbai, Rs 82.41 in Chennai and Rs 82.22 in Kolkata. Diesel is being sold at Rs 71.34 in Delhi, Rs 75.74 per litre in Mumbai, Rs 75.39 per litre in Chennai and Rs 74.19 per litre in Kolkata. The rates were the same on Tuesday, too, when the petrol price was hiked by 16 paise per litre and diesel by 19 paise.
On Tuesday, the government made it clear that it would not cut excise duty on petrol and diesel to cushion spiralling prices as it has limited fiscal space available to take any dent in revenue collections, a top official said. The official's statement followed former finance minister P. Chidambaram's call to cut taxes on petrol and diesel to lessen the pressure due to rising global prices of the fuels.
With imports becoming costlier because of a free-fall in rupee against the US dollar, the government believes the current account deficit will overshoot the target and it cannot "disturb fiscal maths by cutting excise duty on petrol and diesel," the official, who wished not to be identified, said.
Fuel rates have been on fire since mid-August, rising almost every day due to a combination of a drop in rupee value and rise in crude oil rates.
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 last year.
Petrol and diesel prices vary from state to state due to local taxes.