Fuel prices continue to soar across India and touched a record high affecting its people adversely and worsening the situation amid the ongoing pandemic.
Fuel costs have been ratcheted up to current levels by the combined effects of rising benchmark Brent prices and numerous tax hikes over the past few years, said the Indian media.
The country is struggling with record-high prices. High crude oil prices have resulted in an over 19 percent increase in petrol prices and a 21 percent increase in diesel prices since the beginning of the year, making the current OPEC+ deadlock of extreme significance for India, reports The Indian Express.
Prices at the pumps are painful for residents of India, who did not benefit from low international crude oil prices last year due to high excise duties on petrol and diesel levied by the government, according to Indian media reports, which note that India has the highest fuel taxes in the world.
Adding more natural gas to the mix and reducing India’s dependence on imports will be key to turning this $2.89-trillion economy (pre-Covid) into a $5-trillion one.
The record-high gasoline and diesel prices are leaving many Indian car owners unable to afford the cost of using their vehicles and spurring the country’s transport industry to agitate for change.
The increase in fuel prices is likely to trigger a domino effect of price hikes, starting with an increase in the prices of essential commodities and the cost of commuting, reports said.
Officials in oil companies put the consistent increase in fuel prices to development in global oil markets where both product and crude price have been firming up for the past couple of months on demand rise amidst slowing of pandemic.
Meanwhile, after rising for two consecutive days, the prices of petrol and diesel remained unchanged across the India on Friday (July 9), according to The India Express.
The price of petrol in Delhi stands at Rs 100.56 per litre while that of diesel is at Rs 89.62. In Mumbai, petrol currently costs Rs 106.59, while diesel is retailing at Rs 97.18, data available on Indian Oil Corporation’s website showed.
So far in July, petrol prices have been hiked five times while diesel rates have witnessed a rise on three occasions.
During the month of June, both the auto fuel prices were hiked on 16 occasions, which followed the 16 hikes in the month of May after the oil marketing companies (OMCs) resumed their price revisions ending an 18-day hiatus that coincided with the assembly elections in key states.
Reports say buying gasoline in major Indian cities like Mumbai costs almost twice as much as in New York, casting a shadow on the recovery across Asia’s second-largest oil guzzler as virus-related movement restrictions are eased.
Meanwhile, India’s newly appointed Petroleum Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, plans to boost domestic production of oil and gas and increase the role of natural gas in the country’s energy mix as India works towards a $5-trillion economy.
Puri, who takes over Dharmendra Pradhan, said in a statement carried by Business Standard: “As we transform towards a $5-trillion economy, energy availability and consumption will be of paramount importance. My focus will be on increasing domestic production of crude and natural gas.”
The new petroleum minister also vowed to increase natural gas’ share in the energy mix to 15 percent by 2030 as he works “towards development of a natural gas-based economy”.
Since 2015, India’s domestic crude oil production has fallen from 35.5 million tonnes to just over 29 million tonnes in 2020-2021 due to ageing oilfields and, more recently, the pandemic lockdown.
BDST: 2044 HRS, JUL 10, 2021