Petrol, diesel prices fall for 2nd consecutive day

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Consumers can heave a sign of relief as oil marketing companies (OMCs) have finally relented and started reducing the retail price of petrol and diesel after keeping them steady for 24 days in March.

This is the second reduction in petrol and diesel prices in as many days in 2021.

Petrol price fell by 21 paise per litre and diesel by 20 paise per litre in Delhi on Thursday. This has brought down the retail price of petrol to Rs 90.78 and diesel to Rs 81.10 a litre respectively in the national capital.

Across the country as well the petrol and diesel prices fell with the quantum varying depending on the level of local levies in respective states.

In Mumbai and Kolkata, the retail price of petrol fell by 21 and 20 paise per litre respectively and in Chennai by 18 paise per litre on Thursday. For diesel, the prices fell by 19 paise, 20 paise and 22 paise per litre respectively in Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai.

In Mumbai, petrol is now priced at Rs 97.19 a litre from previous days’ price of Rs 97.40 and diesel in the city is now priced at Rs 88.20 a litre from previous price of Rs 88.42 a litre. Premium petrol, however, continues to remain over Rs 100 a litre in the city as is the case with several cities across the country.

The latest price cuts on auto fuel have come after OMCs kept oil prices steady for the last 24 days. Petrol and diesel prices were last revised upwards on February 27 and ever since then retail prices remained unchanged even though during the period crude jumped to over $70 a barrel only to start falling and is now slightly up at $ 63.5 a barrel.

Sources said that oil companies took time to revise petrol and diesel prices downwards as they were covering up for losses incurred on its sale when crude was high and retail prices remained static. Some indications suggest that there was a loss of Rs 4 and Rs 2 per litre on the sale of diesel and petrol respectively earlier that had now been more or less covered.

The current reduction in retail prices has not helped in bringing down fuel prices that have crossed Rs 100 per litre (petrol) mark in several parts of the country and continues to remain above the levels even now.

Since the beginning of February crude has gained more than $7 per barrel that pushed OMCs to increase fuel prices on 14 occasions raising the prices by Rs 4.22 per litre for petrol and by Rs 4.34 a litre for diesel in Delhi.

Crude has now slipped around 9 per cent in the last eight days and is now sitting at a tab lower around $ 63.5 a barrel on the back of rising US inventory and concerns on demand squeeze over the new wave of the pandemic.

The petrol and diesel prices have increased 26 times in 2021 with the two auto fuels increasing by Rs 7.46 and Rs 7.60 per litre respectively so far this year.

Officials in public sector oil companies said that retail prices may rise again if crude and product prices pick up but for now it will fall over the needy few days.

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