Gone are the days when every fortnight you had to wait for, what felt like an eternity, to get your tank filled with petrol because it costs a rupee more. Stand in the queue for hours all just to save a couple of tens. That was the human psychology up till June 2017 when state-owned oil conglomerates chucked the 15-year-old practice where they revised fuel prices on the 1st and 16th of every month.
They instead opted to follow a dynamic daily price revisions that changed the fuel costs on a daily basis depending on the international crude oil market. A coup or not, it left the citizens in a daft about the price fluctuations as it happened every day and before we got any clue about it, petrol prices have reached a three year high.
|Firstpost showing queus outside a petrol pump|
Starting from June 15th, the fuel prices are revised daily at 0600 hours, and since then the prices dropped for the first fortnight from ₹ 65.48 to ₹ 63.06. However, the prices saw a surge every day since July 2nd and now stands at ₹ 69.16 which is a whopping ₹ 6 difference in a gap of just two months.
That is a massive 10% rise in fuel price in a very short period of time which otherwise would have created a havoc amongst the commuters and citizens in general if it was released on one single day. This is the highest price of petrol since August 2014 when the cost of a litre of petrol was at ₹ 70.33.
And if this trend continues, the petrol price will soon surpass the August 2014 record, and I guess that people will still be privy to that fact, again because of the “Daily Fuel Price Revision” playing tricks with the minds of uninformed folks.
Similarly, diesel prices increased from ₹ 53.36 on July 2nd to ₹ 57.05 as of today. Luckily, the fluctuations saw many occasions of reductions compared to just a few in case of petrol. But that being said, central excise duty on diesel has increased by over 380 percent over the last three years while petrol saw 120 percent increase.
With the daily price revision policy, the consumer faces the instant rise or decline of the prices rather than once in a fortnight. Before this, the revisions were not in sync with the world rates when prices used to drop and rice every week. The net change was minuscule to just one or two rupees at the next fortnight change.
This, according to officials, will make consumers take the direct hit of the international crude oil market fluctuations rather than the state exchequer facing weekly or daily hits during constant surcharges. A senior oil company spokesperson said “Previously, everyone felt the pinch when rates would go up by two or three rupees per litre in one go. Now they are being increased by one to fifteen paisa a litre every day, hikes that have largely gone unnoticed.”