Petrol prices rise in metros; diesel rates unchanged

Will Budget FY19's excise duty cut reduce petrol diesel prices

Last week, the spurt in rates, caused by the rally in global oil prices, has led to the oil ministry asking the finance ministry for a cut in excise duty in the Union Budget 2018-19, to be presented in Parliament next week. However, the minister then announced a new road cess of Rs 8 per litre, leading to no change in the petrol prices.

Last time when nation witnessed high prices in petrol was in year 2014, when it was RS 73.60 per litre. After moving to daily revision of fuel prices in June previous year, the government had cut basic excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 per litre in October.

The BJP-led NDA government had raised excise duty nine times between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but cut the tax only once in October a year ago by Rs 2 per litre. Basic excise duty on branded diesel was also reduced from Rs 10.69 per litre to Rs 8.69 per litre.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams says that, while costs are sure to be taking their toll on drivers, there is a "glimmer of hope" that fuel prices will drop again in the near future.

Diesel prices in the country have hit an all time high and Petrol prices have reached levels last seen in 2014 as the government has increased excise duty on petrol and diesel on 12 occasions since 2014 and also because of the recent surge in global crude oil prices.

The government had between November 2014 and January 2016 raised excise duty on petrol and diesel on nine occasions to take away gains arising from plummeting global oil prices.

Subsequently, there was an appreciation in diesel prices within metro cities.

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The high costs are due to the rising price of oil which recently increased by 2%, although this has been offset to some extent by the recent boost to the pound.

This is an additional excise duty imposed on motor spirit is commonly known as petrol and high speed diesel.

Previously, Road and Infrastructure cess on motor spirit stood at Rs 6 per litre.

Because of the excise duty cut, diesel prices had on October 4, 2017 come down to Rs 56.89 and petrol to Rs 68.38.

The much-awaited Union Budget 2018 has hiked petrol price, and the diesel price has remained unchanged.

The FM has, however, further lowered the excise duty revenue receipt estimate for FY19 to Rs 259,600 crore.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had recently said that the Central government favours bringing petrol products under the GST umbrella, but is looking for consensus with state governments to do the same. In comparison, the difference between the prices of both fuels was Rs. 20 per litre back in January 2012.

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