Petrol and diesel prices were hiked again on Saturday as oil companies continued to raise the fuel rates for the 21st day in a row.
With the new revision, petrol became costlier by 25 paise and prices in Delhi touched a new peak of Rs 80.38 per litre while diesel rates went up by 21 paise, taking the cost at a record high of Rs 80.40 per litre.
On Thursday, diesel had become costlier than petrol in the national capital due to a sharp increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) by the Delhi government. On May 5, the Delhi government had hiked the VAT on diesel to 30 per cent from 16.75 per cent and petrol to 30 per cent from 27 per cent.
The unprecedented development came since Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) restarted revision of fuel prices on June 7 after an 82-day-long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The petrol price in Mumbai crossed Rs 87 mark and it was retailing at Rs 87.14 per litre as against Rs 86.91 per litre on Friday. And in Kolkata, the retail price of petrol went up by 23 paise to Rs 82.05 per litre from Rs 81.82 a litre, from the record on Friday, while the cost Rs 75.52 a litre.
Diesel prices have historically been less than petrol all across the country to an extent that a litre of diesel in Delhi used to cost around two-thirds of the cost of petrol or less till the end of 2012.
Between 2002 and 2012, retail prices of petrol exceeded retail prices of diesel by at least 28 per cent at its lowest in 2010 and nearly 79 per cent in May 2012 – the widest recorded gap between the prices.
On average, from April 2002 to December 2012 petrol remained 50 per cent more expensive than diesel. In the years since then, the gap in prices of diesel and petrol has continued to shrink.
Following subsequent revisions in central excise duty on fuel, even as global crude prices remained low, saw the difference between prices of diesel and petrol further shrink to 20 per cent by the time daily revision of prices began in June 2017.
This gap declined to a single-digit figure for the first time in October 2018 at a time when fuel prices touched historic highs all across the country on account of rising crude prices.