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Here is a 5-point rundown of the turn of events:
1) Petrol price was today hiked by 17 paise a litre and diesel by 21 paise. In Delhi, petrol price was hiked to Rs 74.80 per litre from Rs 74.63 while diesel rates were increased to Rs 66.14 a litre from Rs 65.93
2) With this, diesel prices have touched a record high while petrol is at a 56-month peak
3) Officially, oil PSUs have refused to acknowledge if the freeze followed a government diktat so as to help ruling BJP in Karnataka. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) chairman Sanjiv Singh last week said that the state-owned firms were “temporarily moderating” prices to avoid sharp spikes and panic among consumers.
4) This is not the first time that a balm on fuel price pain has been applied. The prices at petrol pumps of state-owned fuel retailers like Indian Oil Corp (IOC) were cut by 1-3 paise every day in the first fortnight of December 2017 before Gujarat went to polls. They started moving up immediately after polling for assembly elections in Gujarat concluded on December 14, leading to speculation that government may have asked oil companies to hold the prices.
5) State-owned oil marketing companies are estimated to have lost about Rs 500 crore as they absorbed higher cost resulting from the spike in international oil rates and fall in rupee against the US dollar.
(With PTI inputs)