Bengaluru, May 14, 2018 : Petrol and diesel prices were revised today after a gap of nearly 21 days. The prices were increased by around 20 paise across India.
The new petrol rates (for Indian Oil bunks, effective 6am today) for metro cities are: Rs 74.80 (Delhi), Rs 77.50 (Kolkata), 82.65 (Mumbai) and 77.61 (Chennai). Diesel prices are: 66.14 (Delhi), 66.68 (Kolkata), 70.43 (Mumbai) and 69.79 (Chennai).
The revision in petrol and diesel prices comes just two days after voting was held for the Karnataka assembly election.
The revision in the fuel prices is significant because the rates had remained unchanged in the fortnight lead up to the Karnataka election.
The prices remained constant despite fluctuations in the international crude prices. Oil companies in India have the mandate to carry out daily revisions in the prices of petrol and diesel.
However, their mysterious inaction in the last 20 days had led to speculation that the government was leaning on the companies to keep the rates unchanged ahead of the Karnataka election.
Last June, Indian oil companies had moved from a ’once-in-a-fortnight’ revision of petrol and diesel to daily revisions. The move was made keeping the day-to-day variation of international crude prices in mind.
However, the daily revision of petrol and diesel prices was seemingly put on hold beginning April 24 this year -- around 20 days before the high-stakes Karnataka election, where the Congress is hoping to retain its southern bastion and where the Bharatiya Janata Party is looking to win a major advantage ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha election.
Interestingly, Brent crude oil prices increased by about $3 (Rs 200) per barrel during the period when fuel prices in India remained unchanged. On April 23, the day before the last change in the prices of fuel in India, crude oil prices were around $74.50 per barrel.
By May 11, a day before voting in Karnataka, the prices had increased by 3.7 per cent to about $77.50 per barrel.
The oil companies -- Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation -- have been silent why they haven’t carried out daily revisions in fuel prices in the last 21 days.
The government, for its part, has maintained that it does not interfere with the pricing of petrol and diesel.