New Delhi: Petrol prices on Wednesday hit the highest level since the BJP government came to power in 2014.
Petrol prices were hiked by 5 paise and diesel prices were raised by 18 paise per litre today according to daily fuel price list of state-owned oil firms.
Petrol price rose to Rs 72.43 per litre in Delhi, highest since March 2014, while diesel price rose to Rs 63.38 per litre in Delhi.
In Mumbai, prices have crossed Rs 80-mark - costliest in the country.
Diesel is being sold at Rs 67.50 in Mumbai, where the local sales tax or VAT rates are higher.
The spurt in rates, caused by the rally in international oil prices, has led to the oil ministry asking the finance ministry for a cut in excise duty in the Union Budget 2018-19, to be presented in Parliament next week.
The reduction sought is part of the pre-Budget memorandum submitted by the ministry for the consideration of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, officials said.
The central government levies Rs 19.48 per litre excise duty on petrol and Rs 15.33 on diesel.
VAT on petrol in Delhi is Rs 15.39 per litre while on diesel it is Rs 9.32.
The rally in oil prices has renewed calls to the government to cut excise duty to cushion the burden on common man.
The BJP-led NDA government had raised excise duty nine times between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but cut the tax only once in October last year by Rs 2 per litre.
The excise duty in October 2017 was cut when petrol price had reached Rs 70.88 per litre in Delhi and diesel was priced at Rs 59.14.
Because of the excise duty cut, diesel prices had on October 4, 2017 come down to Rs 56.89 and petrol to Rs 68.38. However, subsequent rally has wiped away all the gains and prices have touched new highs.
The October 2017 excise duty cut cost the government Rs 26,000 crore in annual revenue and about Rs 13,000 crore during the remaining part of the current fiscal year that ends on March 31, 2018.
The government had between November 2014 and January 2016 raised excise duty on petrol and diesel on nine occasions to take away gains arising from plummeting global oil prices.
In all, duty on petrol was hiked by Rs 11.77 per litre and that on diesel by 13.47 a litre in those 15 months which helped the government's excise mop-up to more than double to Rs 2,42,000 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 99,000 crore in 2014-15.
State-owned oil companies in June last year dumped the 15-year old practice of revising rates on 1st and 16th of every month and instead adopted a dynamic daily price revision to instantly reflect changes in cost. Rates during the first fortnight starting June 16 dropped but have been on the rise since July 4.
Since then prices are revised on daily basis. Today, price of petrol went up by 15 paisa per liter and that of diesel by 19 paisa.
With PTI Inputs