LPG refill prices jacked up by Rs 25 again, nominal cut in fuel prices

NEW DELHI: LPG refills became costlier by Rs 25 each on Wednesday, marking the second increase in a fortnight and taking the total increase since January to Rs 190 per cylinder. The price of a 19 kg commercial cylinder has also increased by Rs 75 per cylinder.
Simultaneously, however, petrol and diesel prices were reduced by 13-15 paise after remaining steady for about a week. But petrol is still selling above Rs 100 a litre in almost every part of the country. In Delhi, petrol now costs Rs 101.34 a litre and diesel Rs 88.77. In Mumbai, petrol is selling for Rs 107.39 a litre and diesel Rs 96.33.
The upward revisions in household LPG prices are bound to stretch household budgets already reeling under the impact of high petrol and diesel prices that are still hovering at record levels in the absence of meaningful reduction.
The prices of domestic LPG refills have more than doubled from Rs 410.50 in Delhi on March 1, 2014. The subsidy was done away from May 2020 by bringing domestic prices of LPG at par with market rates through small hikes.
After the latest round of hike, a domestic LPG cylinder will cost Rs 884.50 in Delhi and Mumbai, while in Chennai households will have to pay Rs 900.50.
Diesel prices were cut between 19 and 21 paise on August 18, the first reduction after about 31 days, while petrol price was first reduced on August 22 by about 20 paise a litre.
The nominal cuts do nothing to dispel the fact that all-time high fuel prices continue to burn a big hole in people’s pockets, with petrol hovering above Rs 100 a litre almost throughout the country. There is little hope of a substantial reduction in fuel prices after finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday ruled out any cut in Central taxes that are keeping pump prices high even though India’s crude cost has fallen to $68.92 a barrel from a high of $75 in mid-July when petrol price began hitting Rs 100 a litre.
The high taxes led to an 88% spike in the Centre’s excise mop-up to over Rs 3 lakh crore in 2020-21 in spite of lower sales due to the pandemic. In contrast, the income of all states from increased VAT and levies rose only a tad more than 1% to Rs 2,02,937 crore in the same fiscal.
The Centre had raised excise duty by Rs 13 on petrol and Rs 16 on diesel when oil prices collapsed between March-end and May 2020 due to the pandemic. This pushed up excise duty on petrol from Rs 19.98 a litre to Rs 32.98 and from Rs 15.83 to Rs 31.83. States, including Delhi, also jacked up VAT.

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