Petrol, Diesel Prices Hiked After 19-day Pre-poll Hiatus

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The price of petrol and diesel were hiked on Monday, just two days after the conclusion of polling activity in the crucial Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018.

The fuel prices are highest in Mumbai--petrol Rs 82.65, diesel RS 70.43 per liter. Petrol prices also rose to Rs74.80 per litre on Monday, the highest since they were raised to Rs76.06 per litre on 14 September 2013.

India has the highest retail prices of petrol and diesel among South Asian nations as taxes account for half of the pump rates. Earlier, the government oil marketing companies used to review fuel prices twice a month. The crude oil prices fell on Monday as the U.S. has increased its drilling activity to increase output.

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However, it seems that with the elections out of the way, the oil companies have again got the green light to increase prices in accordance to rising global rates.

In the last few days, if you look at petrol prices for nearly 20 days, they were nearly unchanged across the country. Also, the rupee has weakened to Rs 67 per USA dollar from Rs 66. 01- 0. 03 every day in the first fortnight of December 2017 before Gujarat went to polls.

The withdrawal of the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement and re-imposing sanctions on the oil-producing country is likely to increase the price of oil in India as well, since India is the world's 3rd largest importer of oil, and Iran is India's 3rd largest supplier.

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The government had in June 2010 freed petrol price from its control and the diesel rates were deregulated in October 2014. It is not yet confirmed if the government had given a go-ahead to prominent oil companies who revise oil prices daily to keep it at par with global indicators. The price of petrol has changed in the 21st day i.e. three weeks later.

If this practice was followed in letter and spirit, petrol and diesel prices should have been increased by Rs 1.

Officials privy to the development said the government's stiff stance on the excise duty cut could be revisited soon if global crude prices continue to move north.

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