For 14th consecutive day, fuel prices increased across country


Fuel prices are likely to be slashed by Rs 2 to Rs 4 in the next few days and a decision will be made after discussions involving the Prime Minister's Office, the finance and oil ministries and state-owned oil marketing companies such as Indian Oil and BPCL, officials in the finance ministry said on Tuesday.

Petrol and diesel prices across the country were raised for the 15th straight day today with Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) passing on the increase in global fuel prices to the consumers. The company meets about 70 percent of its oil needs through annual contracts deals, mainly with Middle Eastern producers. Ltd (ONGC) as part of a permanent solution it is working on for moderating the spiralling retail prices of petrol and diesel. A similar tax was considered in 2008 when oil prices were on the rise but the idea was dropped after stiff opposition from private sector firms like Cairn India. He attributed the cause of this increment in fuel prices to the political difference between Iran and Venezuela leading to a rise in fuel prices in the worldwide market. The government needs to provide relief to consumers, complaining not only of higher crude prices but also significantly higher taxes. The incidence of Central and state government taxes were the instruments for normalizing oil prices in the country which were kept at low rates so that the pressure on consumer was not too high.

"Both Centre and state have roles in controlling fuel price".

"When crude prices were falling from November 2014, the repeated increase of duty was a strategic error of the government". In December, 2017 crude price for Bent was $ 66.2 per Barrel which came down to $ 60 in 2018.

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The ruling BJP-led NDA government could have a tough time convincing the electorate that it deserves a second term in 2019, if one measures electoral fortunes of political formations based on public perception built over rising fuel prices ahead of general elections.

The union minister said the central government had in October past year reduced the excise on fuel by Rs. 2 per litre keeping in view the interest of the poor people.

On Mr Pradhan's suggestions to include petroleum products under GST, Behera said, "All the state governments will take a decision in regard to the proposal of including petroleum products under GST". While other fuel retailers don't buy as frequently they will often match supermarket price rises which means they increase as the supermarkets do.