New Delhi: Petrol price Wednesday fell below Rs 74 per litre mark for the first time since April as the six-week long price reduction spree wiped off all of the massive price hikes witnessed in petrol and diesel rates earlier this year.
Petrol price in Delhi was cut by 50 paisa to Rs 73.57 per litre, according to a price notification issued by state-owned fuel retailers. This is the lowest petrol price since April. Diesel rates were cut by 40 paisa to Rs 68.89 a litre, the notification said. With this, the reduction in rates in last six weeks totals Rs 9.26 per litre on petrol and Rs 7.2 per litre on diesel.
Rates have been on the decline since October 18. This has wiped off all of the price hike on petrol and diesel in two months beginning August 16. Petrol price had touched a record high of Rs 84 per litre in Delhi and Rs 91.34 in Mumbai on October 4. Diesel on that day had peaked to an all-time high of Rs 75.45 a litre in Delhi and Rs 80.10 in Mumbai.
Prices had started to climb from August 16. Petrol in Delhi was priced at Rs 77.14 per litre and in Mumbai it cost Rs 84.58 on August 15. Diesel on that day was priced at Rs 68.72 per litre in Delhi and at Rs 72.96 in Mumbai.
Petrol price in Mumbai on Wednesday stood at Rs 79.12 per litre and diesel was priced at Rs 71.71. Between August 16 and October 4, petrol price was hiked by Rs 6.86 per litre and diesel by Rs 6.73.
On October 4, the government decided to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 1.50 per litre each and asked state-owned fuel retailers to subsidise prices by another Re 1 a litre by reducing their margins.
Many states including Maharashtra matched that with a reduction in local sales tax or VAT. Subsequent to this, the petrol price came down to Rs 81.50 per litre in Delhi and diesel to Rs 72.95 a litre on October 5. In Mumbai rates fell to Rs 86.97 per litre for petrol and Rs 77.45 in case of diesel.
As the international oil prices continued to rise, price of petrol and diesel in Delhi increased to Rs 82.83 and Rs 75.69 on October 17.
In Mumbai, rates touched Rs 88.29 a litre for petrol and Rs 79.35 for diesel. But since then, international oil prices have been falling and rupee has also appreciated, resulting in decline in retail rates. With international oil prices declining to USD 60 per barrel, retail prices of petrol and diesel may reign easy in the next few days.
The retail selling price of petrol and diesel is dependent on the international prices of benchmark fuel and the rupee-US dollar exchange rate. This is because a large proportion of country's requirement is met through imports.