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Petrol and diesel prices rise again

Petrol and diesel prices rose sharply on Thursday after a day’s pause as global oil prices remained firm reaching the highest levels this fiscal. Petrol prices increased by 11 paise per liter to Rs 81.70 per liter on Thursday from Rs 81.59 a liter on the previous day.

Diesel prices, on the other hand, increased by a higher margin of 21 paise to Rs 71.62 a liter, up from Rs 71.41 per liter on the previous day. Oil companies began increasing pump prices of the two petroleum products from Friday after a nearly two-month-long hiatus in a fuel price revision. The prices increased for five consecutive days before a day’s pause on Wednesday.

In five days, petrol prices have gone up by 53 paise and diesel rates have risen by 95 paise per liter. With Thursday’s increase, petrol prices have now risen by 64 paise per liter and diesel by Rs 1.16 a liter since Friday. Petrol prices had been static since September 22, and diesel rates hadn’t changed since October 2.

Though retail pricing of petrol and diesel has been deregulated and oil marketing companies were following a daily price revision formula, the same was suspended for almost two months to prevent volatility in international oil markets from impacting fuel prices regularly during the pandemic.

But with crude on the boil again on news of a successful coronavirus vaccine launch soon, OMCs finally resorted to a price increase to cover for their under-recovery on the sale of two petroleum products. The benchmark Brent crude has crossed $48 a barrel on Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). It has remained at over $ 43 a barrel for most of November.

OMCs need almost 40 paise per liter increase in the retail price of petrol and diesel to cover for a $1 increase in crude. Going by this yardstick, product prices would have to be increased by up to Rs 2 per liter to cover under-recovery on its sale.

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