Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan: Government won't intervene to cut petrol, diesel prices

Authorities inspect a fuel station at Golf Course Ext. Road in Gurgaon

Authorities inspect a fuel station at Golf Course Ext. Road in Gurgaon

Explaining high fuel prices, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday said oil prices in the worldwide market have increased in the last three months due to Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, and assured that it will cool down soon.

The daily price revision means an instant transfer of a rise or decline in worldwide oil price to the consumer.

"The government will not interfere in the day-to-day functioning of the OMCs... for the last three years, the pricing mechanism has been linked to the market", he said.

Petroleum products do not come under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and prices vary at locations according to state taxes. "The government can not change fuel pricing on a knee-jerk basis", Pradhan added. In the last three years, the petrol price hit its highest at Rs 81.75 per litre in Mumbai on 1 August 2014.

The news reports brought back the ghosts of the era of regulation, when petrol and diesel price movements were much hyped events with the government dictating how much the oil refining and marketing companies could charge.

He claimed that hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which hit the United States over the past month, were responsible for the rise in fuel prices in India.

Not long ago, petrol and diesel price hikes used to trigger protests by opposition parties as well as common people.

The minister said that the deregulation of retail fuel prices, beginning with petrol in 2010, diesel in 2014, and then the shift to daily revision in June 2017, is a consumer-friendly approach, and in their best interests.

The two hurricanes to have hit the American shores in succession have hit the global refining capacity by as much as 13%, leading to a rise in the retail fuel prices in the worldwide markets, Dharmendra Pradhan said.

Similarly, petrol per litre cost Rs 70.38 in Delhi, Rs 73.12 in Kolkata and Rs 72.95 in Chennai while diesel price was Rs 58.72 in Delhi, Rs 61.37 in Kolkata, Rs 62.37 in Mumbai and Rs 61.84 in Chennai. Earlier this month, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan ruled out cutting taxes on petrol and diesel to cushion the impact of rising worldwide oil prices. "Thereafter, it has increased mainly because of rise in global oil prices", he said.

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