India raises petrol, diesel prices twice in two days as the country wakes up from lockdown

Petrol and diesel prices rose twice last week as crude oil recovered from the steep fall it had amid global lockdown. As the country is getting ready to shake down the lockdown blues, petrol and diesel prices in India have started climbing up again with the rise in crude oil prices even as fuel prices did not fall in sync with crude oil price during coronavirus lockdown.

Petrol and diesel prices rose for the second straight day last Sunday as crude oil recovered from the steep fall it had amid global lockdown. Petrol and diesel prices rose 60 paisa per litre in Delhi, pushing petrol prices to Rs 72.46 per litre from Rs 71.86, and diesel prices to Rs 70.59 a litre from Rs 69.99 yesterday, according to IOCL.

Surprisingly, during the past 80 odd days when demand for fuel was at its very minimal, thanks to the lockdown, petrol and diesel prices weren’t raised at all. And just when gasoline demand is poised for a massive leap, prices have been increased heftily.  

To take advantage of falling crude prices in the international market, the government had raised excise duty on petrol by Rs 10 per litre and on diesel by Rs 13 per litre last month. However, now that the crude prices are rebounding, retail prices are also rising significantly.

Apart from high taxes on fuel, the government has also taken full advantage of cheap crude oil by filling the strategic reserves to full capacity. The government claimed that it has saved Rs 5,000 crore in foreign exchange while strengthening its energy security by filling the strategic reserves.  Meanwhile, OPEC producers and allies have agreed to extend their historic production cut for another month as crude recovers to near $40 a barrel. The producers had first agreed in April that it would cut supply by a record 9.7 million barrels every day during May-June to offset the global oil market and lift prices that collapsed due to the coronavirus crisis. On the other hand, the crude oil demand has also started to recover as several countries continue to lift lockdown restrictions.

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