Petrol prices inch towards all-time high

Petrol prices could touch an all-time high with oil marketing companies (OMCs) raising their retail price for the sixth consecutive day on Monday.

The price of petrol here increased by a margin of 30 paise per litre on Monday to Rs 83.71 a litre from a level of Rs 83.41 a litre on Sunday.

The OMCs also raised the price of diesel by 26 paise per litre to Rs 73.87 a litre as against Rs 73.61 a litre a day earlier.

With the increase, the retail price of petrol has inched closer to all-time high levels of Rs 84 a litre — that it touched two years back on October 4, 2018.

Given the rate of daily increase by OMCs, that milestone may be achieved as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.

Across the country as well, retail prices of petrol are inching closer to all-time high levels and will breach the mark this week if the prices continue to rise daily.

Global crude prices have firmed up recently over the news of successful coronavirus vaccine. It has risen almost $10 a barrel in last one month to reach closer to $50 a barrel now.

However, even at that level, it is far less than the average crude price of $80.08 a barrel in October 2018 when petrol prices reached highs of Rs 84 a litre in the national capital.

With Monday’s increase, fuel prices have now increased on 15 of the past 18 days with petrol prices rising by Rs 2.65 per litre and diesel by 3.41 a litre.

Petrol prices had been static since September 22, and diesel rates hadn’t changed since October 2.

Though retail pricing of petrol and diesel has been deregulated and oil marketing companies were following a daily price revision formula, the same was suspended for almost two months to prevent volatility in international oil markets from impacting fuel prices regularly during the pandemic.

But with crude on the boil again on news of a successful coronavirus vaccine launch soon, the OMCs lost their patience and finally resorted to a price increase to cover for their under-recovery on the sale of two petroleum products.

The benchmark Brent crude has crossed $49 a barrel on Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) lately. It has remained over $44 a barrel for most part of November.