NEW DELHI: Petrol price today hit a four-year high of Rs 73.73 a litre while diesel rates touched an all-time high of Rs 64.58 in the national capital, renewing calls for the government to cut excise tax rates.
State-owned oil firms, which have been since June last year revising auto fuel prices daily, today raised petrol and diesel rates by 18 paise per litre each in Delhi, according to a price notification.
Petrol in the national capital now costs Rs 73.73 a litre, the highest since September 14, 2014 when rates had hit Rs 76.06. Diesel price at Rs 64.58 is the highest ever, with previous high of Rs 64.22 being on February 7, 2018.
The Oil Ministry had earlier this year sought a reduction in excise duty on petrol an diesel to cushion the impact of rising international oil rates but finance minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget presented on February 1 ignored those calls.
India has the highest retail prices of petrol and diesel among South Asian nations as taxes account for half of the pump rates.
Jaitley had raised excise duty nine times between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October last year by Rs 2 a litre.
Subsequent to that excise duty reduction, the Centre had asked states to also lower VAT but just four of them- Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh- reduced rates while others including BJP-ruled ones ignored the call.
The central government had cut excise duty by Rs 2 per litre in October 2017, when petrol price reached Rs 70.88 per litre in Delhi and diesel Rs. 59.14. Because of the reduction in excise duty, diesel prices had on October 4, 2017 come down to Rs 56.89 per litre and petrol to Rs 68.38 per litre. However, a global rally in crude prices pushed domestic fuel prices far higher than those levels.