Watch how petrol, diesel prices hiked to record high just after Karnataka voted for a new government
After a 19-day pre-Karnataka poll hiatus, petrol price was on Monday hiked by 17 paise a litre and diesel by 21 paise as PSU oil firms began passing on the spike witnessed in international rates to consumers. Petrol price in Delhi was hiked to Rs 74.80 per litre from Rs 74.63 while diesel rates were increased to Rs 66.14 a litre from Rs 65.93, according to a price notification issued by state-owned oil marketing companies. With this, diesel prices have touched a record high while petrol is at a 56-month peak. Oil PSUs, who had kept rates unchanged for nearly three weeks before Karnataka went to polls despite input cost spiking, reverted to daily revision in prices no sooner had the state voted to elect a new government on Saturday. State-owned oil marketing companies are estimated to have lost about Rs 500 crore as they absorbed higher cost resulting from the spike in international oil rates and fall in rupee against the US dollar. Oil PSUs, which have been revising auto fuel prices on a daily basis from last June to reflect changes in the cost, have kept pump rates static since April 24, an analysis of daily price notification issued by oil companies showed. Oil PSUs have refused to acknowledge if the freeze followed a government diktat so as to help ruling BJP in Karnataka. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) chairman Sanjiv Singh last week said that the state-owned firms were “temporarily moderating” prices to avoid sharp spikes and panic among consumers. Petrol and diesel prices were last revised on April 24 when they were hiked by 13 paise each. But prices were frozen thereafter. This despite benchmark international rate for petrol going up from USD 78.84 per barrel, which was used for raising the price to Rs 74.63 a litre on April 24, to USD 82.98 now, according to sources privy to fuel pricing methodology. The benchmark international diesel rates during this period have climbed from USD 84.68 per barrel to USD 88.63. Also, the rupee has weakened to Rs 67 per US dollar from Rs 66.62, making imports costlier. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had last month denied reports of a directive to state oil firms to absorb at least Re 1 a litre hike by not raising prices in line with cost.