Domestic fuel prices high due to weak rupee against USD: Pradhan

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New Delhi, Sep 8 (IANS) Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday said a weak Indian rupee against the US dollar and supply side constraints have led to high domestic fuel prices.

The minister’s comments come in the backdrop of the petrol price crossing the record high level of Rs 80 per litre in Delhi.

The rupee, according to Pradhan, is as “strong as ever” in comparison to currencies other than the dollar.

“Today Indian currency is stronger as ever in comparison to other currencies, but oil… How do we purchase our oil? Through dollars… Today, dollar in a way is world’s biggest exchange currency, that is creating problem for us,” the minister said on the sidelines of the Global Mobility Summit here.

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The Indian rupee stood at 71.73 per US dollar on Friday — 73 paise weaker from the previous week’s close of 71 per greenback.

Currencies globally have depreciated against the US dollar in the past few weeks due to global trade concerns and following a plunge in the Turkish Lira after the US threatened sanctions on Turkey.

He further said that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries had assured of increasing oil supply from July 1, 2018, but has not been able to do so due to internal issues in some of its member countries, which has increased pressure on oil supply.

Regarding initiatives to decrease dependence on conventional transportation fuel, Pradhan said that the government is focusing on increasing ethanol and bio gas production among others.

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Speaking at the conclave about the gas based transportation solutions, the minister said that the use of compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas and bio-CNG is being promoted in the sector, and there are plans in place to have about 10,000 CNG stations within a decade, covering over half the country.

On the issue of promoting LNG as a fuel for long distance transportation by heavy commercial vehicles, he said that efforts are being made by public sector oil companies and some private enterprises in setting up LNG distribution infrastructure.

–IANS

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