Auto fuels soared to another record levels on Friday with petrol in Delhi surging to ₹101.89 per litre and diesel at ₹90.17 as state-run retailers raised their rates by 25 paise and 30 paise, respectively, even as international oil market soften on prospects of supply ease by the oil cartel.
Recent spike in pump prices of petrol and diesel started last week due to a spike in international oil prices as benchmark Brent crude breached $80 a barrel, a three-year high, on Tuesday due to rising demand and supply concerns. Subsequently, Brent retreated and on Friday trade it fell to $77.55 per barrel on the prospect of supply ease by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia (together known as OPEC+), which is meeting on Monday.
The previous record rates of petrol and diesel were reported in mid-July at ₹101.84 per litre and ₹89.87, respectively, when benchmark Brent crude was around $73 a barrel. After staying at that level for about a month, the two fuels saw gradual rate reductions—petrol by 65 paise per litre and diesel by ₹1.25—between mid-August and early September after Brent soften to $68.23 per barrel on August 18.
The recent hike in pump prices started from last Sunday. After keeping fuel rates frozen for 18 days since September 6, oil companies first started raising diesel price in small doses from September 24. Northward movement of petrol prices, however, started a bit late, from September 28.
While diesel crossed ₹90 a litre for the first time in Delhi, it has already crossed ₹100 mark in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar ( ₹103.9 per litre). While the benchmark automobile fuel prices for the country are set by the Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOCL) in Delhi, retail prices vary from place to place due to local levies.
Prices are also moving up because the rupee is depreciating against the dollar, which makes imports costlier, the executive said. India imports more than 80% of crude oil it processes and pays in US dollars.