Diesel price hits record high of ₹69.46 a litre, petrol inches towards ₹78 mark

Diesel prices hit a record high of ₹69.46 per litre while petrol rates inched towards ₹78 a litre mark after a fall in rupee made imports costlier.

Diesel price was, on Monday, hiked about 14 paise per litre and petrol by 13 paise, according to price notification of state-owned fuel retailers. The increase pushed diesel price to its highest ever level of ₹69.46 a litre in Delhi. In Mumbai, the fuel now costs ₹73.74 a litre.

Fuel prices in Delhi are the cheapest in all metros and most state capitals due to lower sales tax or VAT. Diesel price had previously hit its highest level on May 29 when it reached ₹69.31 a litre mark in Delhi.

Petrol in Delhi, on Monday, cost ₹77.91 per litre, and while it cost ₹85.33 in Mumbai. The rates are however lower than the peak hit on May 29 when they touched ₹78.43 a litre in Delhi and ₹86.24 in Mumbai.

Fuel prices have been on the rise since August 16 after the rupee dipped to its lowest value against the US dollar. The domestic unit hit a record low of 70.32 in early trade that day. Petrol price has risen by ₹0.77 a litre in Delhi in last 12 days. Diesel rates have gone up by ₹0.74 per litre since then.

State-owned oil firms had, in mid-June last year, dumped the 15-year practice of revising rates on 1st and 16th of every month in favour of daily price revisions. High prices have off-and-on triggered demands for a reduction in excise duty but the government had ruled out any immediate cut.

The centre currently levies a total of ₹19.48 per litre of excise duty on petrol and ₹15.33 per litre on diesel. On top of this, states levy value added tax (VAT) – the lowest being in Andaman and Nicobar Islands where a 6% sales tax is charged on both the fuel.

Mumbai has the highest VAT of 39.12% on petrol, while Telangana levies the highest VAT of 26% on diesel. Delhi charges a VAT of 27% on petrol and 17.24% on diesel.

The central government had raised excise duty on petrol by ₹11.77 a litre and that on diesel by ₹13.47 a litre in nine installments between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October last year by ₹2 a litre.

This led to its excise collections from petro goods more than doubling in last four years – from ₹ 99,184 crore in 2014-15 to ₹2,29,019 crore in 2017-18. States saw their VAT revenue from petro goods rise from ₹,37,157 crore in 2014-15 to ₹1,84,091 crore in 2017-18.

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