NEW DELHI: A depreciating rupee and expensive crude oil further pushed domestic fuel prices to new record highs on Monday even as a united Opposition led by the Congress staged a nationwide shutdown protest against the rising prices.
Petrol in Delhi rose by 23 paise to Rs 80.73 per liter, while it rose by 22 paise, 25 paise and 23 paise in Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai to Rs 83.61, Rs 83.91 and Rs 88.12 a liter respectively, as per the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) website.
Similarly, diesel price rose by 22 paise in Delhi and Kolkata to Rs 72.61 and Rs 75.46 per liter respectively, while it rose by 23 paise a liter to Rs 76.75 and Rs 77.09 per liter in Chennai and Mumbai respectively. Extra premium petrol is selling at Rs 90.87 in Mumbai.
Fuel prices began an almost unbroken northward march since August 1. They fell only once on August 13 in the last 41 days. Prices surged on 29 days and remained unchanged on 11 days, and have been breaching record levels for more than a week now.
Sector experts say a weak rupee and high excise duty are major factors for the rise in fuel prices. The rupee on Monday touched an all-time low of Rs 72.67 against the US dollar.
Also, high global crude oil cost has become a major concern for the country which is a net importer of oil. The UK Brent crude oil price hovers around $77 per barrel.
Since the start of the calendar year, the petrol price in Delhi has gone up by 15.4 percent from Rs 69.97 on January 1, 2018. The hike in diesel price has been even more steep. It has gone up by 22 percent since January 1, 2018, when it was Rs 59.70.
A multi-party Opposition, led by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, on Monday staged a 1.8-km foot march between Rajghat and Zakir Husain College here in support of a ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by his party against the rising fuel prices.
The rising diesel price is expected to flare up inflation as the fuel is primarily used to transport most of the goods including agricultural products.
As per the country’s pricing mechanism, the domestic fuel prices are dependent upon the international fuel prices on a 15-day average and the value of the rupee.