Petrol, diesel prices hiked for 16th straight day

Petrol Pumps

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: "This is the worst series of consecutive daily supermarket price rises we have seen since we began monitoring this three and a half years ago".

Domestic petrol prices increased for the 13th day in a row on Saturday, with the fuel being sold at Rs 77.97 per litre in the national capital. It is possible to cut up to Rs 25 per litre, but the government will not.

The government said it is likely to levy a "windfall tax", in the form of a cess, on companies like Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India (OIL) for any revenue that they earn from prices crossing $70 a barrel. The revised prices came into effect at 6 am today.

Prices of diesel, the key transportation fuel, which are already at record levels across the major cities rose to Rs 68.90, Rs 71.45, Rs 73.36 and Rs 72.74 a litre on Saturday in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai respectively.

"Given that these revenue if foregone will not impact states fiscal position, we estimate that on an average, states can cut petrol prices by Rs 2.65/litre and diesel by Rs 2/litre, if the entire revenue gain was to be neutralised".

"The government is keen that instead of having an ad hoc measure, it may be desirable to have a long-term view which addresses not only the volatility but also takes care of the unnecessary ambiguity arising out of frequent ups and downs".

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The revisions continued till just before the general elections in 2004 when oil companies went slow and after a Congress-led UPA came to power the entire process was reviewed as the worldwide oil prices started moving up.

Worldwide crude oil prices had risen in the period, while the rupee fell against the United States dollar - both factors make the fuels costlier.

Last week, BJP President Amit Shah had said that a plan is being worked upon to check petrol prices in the country. On Sunday, it was sold at Rs 80.76 a litre.

Mr Faughnan said 90c of the cost of a litre of motor fuel was made up of Government taxes. State sales tax or VAT varies from state to state.

On the other hand, if the Centre cuts the excise by Re 1, the loss of revenue will be to the tune of Rs 10,725 crore for every Re 1 cut in central excise and the amount will become twice if it cuts the excise duty by Rs 2.

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