Petrol and diesel prices remained unchanged for the second consecutive day on Friday.
With prices on hold, petrol continues to sell at a new record high of Rs 86.30 a litre in Delhi, while diesel is selling at Rs 76.48 a litre.
Across the country as well, fuel prices remain unchanged. In Mumbai, petrol is priced at Rs 92.86 a litre, while in Chennai, it is at Rs 88.82 a litre, and in Kolkata, Rs 87.69 a litre. Diesel, on the other hand, is at Rs 83.30 a litre in Mumbai, Rs 81.71 a litre in Chennai, and Rs 80.08 a litre in Kolkata.
Firm global crude and product price is responsible for the increase in retail prices of the two fuels; it is, nonetheless, interesting to note that even though crude has been hovering just over $55 a barrel for some time now, oil marketing companies (OMCs) have gone in for both a pause in the prices of auto fuels as well as an increase in their retail rates on consecutive days.
Informed sources said OMCs may be building a buffer on the retail prices of petrol and diesel to prevent a sharp hike if the government decides to further raise excise duty on the two fuels for additional revenue.
Crude prices have remained firm for the last few weeks in the wake of unilateral production cuts announced by Saudi Arabia and a pick-up in consumption in all major economies globally.
Petrol and diesel prices have increased 10-fold in January, by Rs 2.59 and Rs 2.61 per litre respectively.
The last few increases in pump prices of petrol and diesel have taken their rates to record levels in all major metros and other towns. The last time the retail prices of auto fuels were close to the current levels was on 4 October 2018 when crude prices had shot up to $80 a barrel.
The current price rise is largely on account of a steep increase in central taxes on petrol and diesel and firm crude prices.
Petrol price came close to breaching the all-time high of Rs 84 a litre (reached on 4 October 2018) when it touched Rs 83.71 a litre on 7 December 2020; its march was, however, halted with no price revision by the OMCs that month. The price started rising again only on 6 January.
(With inputs from agencies)