New Delhi: State-owned oil companies are considering a Rs 1.82 per litre hike in petrol prices, as a fall in rupee has increased the cost of imports of the raw material (crude oil).
Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum last hiked petrol prices by Rs 3.14 a litre on September 16 when the rupee was ruling at about 48 to a US dollar. The local currency has depreciated further and is now trading at over 49 against the American currency.
"From today, there are some losses on petrol. To cover them, we may have to increase prices," HPCL Director (Finance) B Mukherjee told reporters here.
He said crude oil is hovering at around USD 108 per barrel in international markets. At current exchange rate, petrol price of Rs 66.84 per litre in Delhi corresponds to about USD 102 per barrel equivalent of crude oil price.
The government had in June last year deregulated or freed petrol from all price controls, but the retail rates have not moved in line with cost as high inflation rate forced the oil companies to seek 'advice' from parent oil ministry before revising rates.
Mukherjee did not say when petrol price would be hiked. "We are in consultations," he said without elaborating.
The loss on petrol at present is Rs 1.50 per litre and after including local levies, the desired increase in retail prices is Rs 1.82 per litre.
"Let's say, we are toying with the idea," he said. "It may happen. We will see".
Besides petrol, the three firms are losing Rs 333 crore per day on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below cost. They lose Rs 9.27 per litre on diesel, Rs 26.94 per litre on kerosene sold through the public distribution system (PDS) and Rs 260.50 per 14.2-kg LPG cylinder supplied to domestic households for cooking purposes.
At the current rate, the industry is projected to lose Rs 1,21,459 crore in revenue on sale of diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene for the full fiscal.
While the loss on these three products are compensated through a combination of government cash subsidy and upstream oil firm dole outs, no such mechanism exists for making good the losses on petrol as the product is deregulated.
First Published: Tuesday, November 01, 2011, 14:26