Petrol and diesel prices have become more expensive for the common man with oil marketing companies raising pump prices by 60 paise per litre on Thursday.
The auto fuel prices have now risen five days in a row with petrol prices increasing by Rs 2.74 and diesel by Rs 2.83 per litre since Sunday. In three of the last five days, the prices have risen by a sharp 60 paise per litre while it increased by around 40 and 55 percent per litre on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Sources in oil marketing companies said that price rise could continue for another week or 10 days as global crude prices are firming up with a pick up in demand following opening up of economies across the globe post Covid-19 related lockdown. Even global crude prices are on the rise and its prices have more than doubled from April levels at over $40 a barrel level.
The increase in retail prices on Thursday has been made under the dynamic pricing system for daily revision of fuel prices which OMCs resumed after over 83 days break during the lockdown period.
In the national capital, the retail price of both petrol and diesel had increased by 60 paise per litre to Rs 74 and Rs 72.22 per litre respectively on Thursday.
In other cities, the increase could vary depending on the tax structure on products.
IANS had published earlier that daily price revision may begin in June and retail prices of petrol and diesel could go up to Rs 5 a litre in phases.
Prices of transportation fuel were last revised under the dynamic pricing policy on March 16 and there were few instances of price hike only when the respective state governments hiked VAT or cess. In a bid to increase revenues during the nationwide lockdown, several state governments raised taxes imposed on transportation fuel.
Already, the gap between cost and sale price of petrol and diesel for OMCs has reached around Rs 5-6 per litre. If this has to be covered over a period of time, given there is no further increase in global prices, auto fuel prices may be increased by 40-60 paise per day for a couple of weeks to cover the losses.
The increase in retail price under daily price revision would largely depend on prevailing oil prices and global oil market at the time.
However, lockdown has also curved demand for auto fuel. This could maintain some check on prices.
Raising retail prices became important for OMCs now as the recent steep excise duty hike without resultant increase in petrol and diesel prices, had substantially brought down its marketing margins from record high level of Rs 12-18 per litre.
If it is unable to raise prices when the global crude prices are rising, it would start incurring losses that will get steeper.