The state-run oil marketing companies have deregulated the petrol and diesel price by 91 paise per litre and 84 paise per litre, respectively. In the last four months, it is the seventh consecutive cut in the prices of petrol, while diesel prices have been reduced for the third time since October 18. The oil companies have slashed the petrol prices by Rs 10.27 per litre since August 1 and diesel prices have been lower down by Rs 6.46 per litre since October 18.
"Since the last revision, international prices of both petrol and diesel have continued to be on a downtrend. The rupee-dollar exchange rate has, however, appreciated since the last price change. The combined impact of both these factors warrant a decrease in retail selling prices of both petrol and diesel," an IOC spokesman said. The global crude oil prices have dropped 40% since June and hit an all-time low of USD 70 a barrel on Friday. India's average crude oil import price (Indian basket) plunged to a four-year low of $72.51 per barrel last week, according to an oil ministry statement issued on Friday. Retail prices of petrol and diesel are also affected because of the rupee-dollar exchange rates and India imports about 80% crude oil it processes and pays in dollars.
Taking advantage of falling international oil prices since June, the government on November 13, imposed an additional excise duty of Rs. 1.50 per litre on petrol and diesel to meet its revenue deficit target. But the decision drew criticism from the opposition parties and petrol pump dealers, who said the government was not passing on the entire benefit of falling global oil prices to the consumers. They had last cut fuel prices on November 1.