Petrol price crossed the Rs 99 a litre mark in Rajasthan on Sunday while diesel topped Rs 91 after rates were increased for the sixth day in a row. Petrol price was increased by 29 paise per litre and diesel by 32 paise, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.
This pushed retail rates, which differ from state to state depending on incidence of local sales tax or VAT and freight charges, to their highest level.
In the national capital, petrol climbed to Rs 88.73 a litre and diesel soared to Rs 79.06, the notification showed. Rajasthan, which levies the highest VAT on fuel in the country, had the highest petrol and diesel prices. In Sriganganagar town of the state, petrol soared to Rs 99.29 and diesel jumped to Rs 91.17 per litre.
The Rajasthan government had late last month cut VAT on petrol and diesel by 2 per cent. Despite this, the state has the highest VAT at 36 per cent plus Rs 1,500 per kilolitre road cess on petrol. On diesel, the state levies 26 per cent and Rs 1,750 per kl road cess.
Branded or premium petrol at Sriganganagar was priced at Rs 102.07 a litre and similar grade diesel at Rs 94.83. The main difference between regular and premium fuel grades is the octane number. Regular fuel has a lower octane number -- 87, while premium fuel generally gets a 91 octane rating or higher.
Octane number is a measure of the ignition quality of fuel -- higher the number, the less susceptible is the fuel to 'knocking' when burnt in a standard engine. Regular petrol in Delhi comes for Rs 88.73 per litre while premium fuel is priced at Rs 91.56. Against Rs 79.06 a litre price of regular diesel, branded fuel comes for Rs 82.35.
In Mumbai, regular petrol price soared to its highest ever level of Rs 95.21 and that of diesel rose to Rs 86.04. Premium or branded petrol in the city comes for Rs 97.99 and same grade diesel for Rs 89.27 a litre. In six straight days, prices have gone up by Rs 1.80 per litre for petrol and Rs 1.88 for diesel.
The relentless hike in prices has been criticised by the opposition parties including Congress that has demanded an immediate cut in taxes to ease the burden on the common man. However, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan last week had told Parliament that the government is not considering a reduction in excise duty to cool rates from their record highs.
Rates have risen as international oil prices touched USD 61 per barrel for the first time in more than a year on improving demand outlook amid the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, he had said.
Central and state taxes make up for over 61 per cent of the retail selling price of petrol and about 56 per cent of diesel. The union government levies Rs 32.9 per litre of excise duty on petrol and Rs Rs 31.80 a litre on diesel.
Retail petrol rates have risen by Rs 19.16 per litre since mid-March 2020, after the government raised taxes by a record margin to mop up gains arising from fall in international oil prices. Diesel rates have gone up by Rs 16.77.