There seems to be no respite for consumers already reeling under the pressure of high food prices.
Get ready for another bang that will see your monthly budget go haywire. In a move that will burn a deeper hole in your wallet after soaring onion prices, state-run oil companies on Saturday announced yet another hike in petrol prices by Rs2.50-2.54 per litre from midnight.
The surge, causing misery for millions of families, is all set to push up inflation. The increase in pump prices, the second in a month, comes on the back of soaring global crude oil prices that have climbed to $92 (approximately R4,140) a barrel.
The last hike of Rs2.94-2.96 a litre in petrol prices was announced on December 15, the biggest hike since the de-regulation of petrol prices in June this year.
"Indian Oil Corp, the nation's largest fuel retailer, will raise petrol prices by Rs2.50 per litre while HPCL and BPCL would hike rates by Rs2.54 a litre and Rs2.53 a litre, respectively," an industry official said.
Petrol at IOC outlets in Delhi now costs Rs55.87 a litre. From Sunday, it will be priced at Rs58.37 a litre. The fuel at HPCL and BPCL pumps would be sold at Rs58.39 per litre.
Following de-regulation, oil companies are free to adjust petrol prices in line with international crude prices. However, diesel prices are yet to be de-controlled and are revised only after a nod from the government.
The government had last month deferred the proposed hike in diesel and cooking fuel prices that would have aggravated inflation and would have added to voters' discontent.
"Petrol is a rich man's fuel and the increase in its price was needed due to rising global crude oil prices," said a senior petroleum ministry official, justifying the hike. "There is no decision yet on diesel and cooking gas prices," he said.
Speaking on the differential increase by oil companies, an IOC official said, "The state-run retailers that control 98% of the retail market are deliberately adopting marginally different rates to avoid being accused of acting as a cartel in the free market."