Fuel prices unchanged for 9 days, observers cite Karnataka polls

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New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) In a measure of relief for transport fuel consumers, state-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) have unofficially suspended the daily pricing system for petrol and diesel for over a week despite the rise in global rates.

This measure of political economy in temporarily suspending the dynamic pricing regime, which recalls the freeze in fuel prices for a fortnight before the Gujarat state elections last year, has led observers to point the finger at the elections in Karnataka on May 12.

The price of petrol per litre, on Wednesday, was Rs 74.63 and diesel was at Rs 65.93 — rates of both have remained unchanged since April 24.

On that day, domestic retail petrol prices which had been rising for six consecutive days touched the highest in Delhi since September 14, 2013 when it reached Rs 76.06 a litre.

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Petrol prices climbed to new multi-year highs in other major metro cities also — Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai — at Rs 77.32, Rs 82.48 and Rs 77.43 per litre respectively.

Diesel prices too touched record high levels on April 24 in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai. They rose to Rs 65.93, Rs 68.63, Rs 70.20 and Rs 69.56 per litre respectively.

The price of the Indian basket of crude oils, composed of 70 per cent sour grade Oman and Dubai crudes and the rest by sweet grade Brent, has gone upwards of $70 a barrel last month, after rising to an average of $69.30 in April 2018. It averaged $47.56 and $56.43 per barrel, respectively, during the last two financial years.

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The Indian crude basket closed trade at $71.39 a barrel on April 30.

OMC officials here, contacted on Wednesday, declined to comment on fuel prices remaining unchanged for the ninth day in succession.



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