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Petrol price cut by Rs 2.42 per litre; diesel by Rs 2.25

With international crude oil prices continuing to hover below $50 per barrel, the three state-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) Tuesday decided to reduce petrol and diesel prices.

business Updated: Feb 03, 2015 19:58 IST

Ahead of the Delhi polls this Sunday, petrol price was cut on Tuesday by Rs 2.42 per litre and diesel by Rs 2.25 a litre in step with fall in international oil prices. Petrol in Delhi will cost Rs 56.49 a litre from Tuesday midnight as compared to Rs 58.91 now. Similarly, diesel will cost Rs 46.01 per litre as against Rs 48.26 at present.

This is the 10th straight reduction in petrol price since August and sixth in diesel since October. The latest cut in fuel prices, which are generally revised on 1st and 15th of the month, comes days ahead of February 7 polling for Delhi Assembly, for which the BJP is locked in a fierce battle with the AAP while Congress is also in the fray.

Even after the price reduction, state fuel retailers are making a margin of Rs 4 a litre on petrol and about Rs 3.6 per litre on diesel which they want to use for recouping inventory losses. Oil firms buy crude oil at one price but by the time it is processed and turned into fuel - a process that may take up to six weeks, a fall in international rates results in inventory loss, sources said.

Despite reductions, petrol will cost more than ATF, which is of superior quality and used in aircraft. A litre of jet fuel or aviation turbine fuel (ATF) costs Rs 46.51 per litre in Delhi. New rates of petrol and diesel will be effective midnight tonight, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation's largest fuel retailer, announced here.

After the price cuts, petrol price is the lowest since September 2010 while diesel is cheapest since March 2013. ATF has a higher octane than petrol and diesel is a heavier fraction in the distillation process. Traditionally, auto fuels being of lesser quality than ATF would cost less. Four consecutive excise duty hikes since November, totalling Rs 7.75 a litre on petrol and Rs 7.50 on diesel, have however, reversed this.

But for these, the cumulative reduction of Rs 17.11 per litre in petrol price in ten cuts since August and Rs 12.96 a litre on diesel since its deregulation in October, would have been higher. Petrol and diesel prices were last cut on January 17 by Rs 2.42 and Rs 2.25 a litre respectively. "Since that price revision, international prices of both petrol and diesel have continued to be on a downtrend and the rupee-US dollar exchange rate has appreciated. The combined impact of both these factors warrant a decrease in retail selling prices of both petrol and diesel," IOC said.

First Published: Feb 03, 2015 18:02 IST