Private oil firms Reliance Industries and Essar, along with Royal Dutch Shell, today pitched for freeing of petrol and diesel prices to give consumers a choice.

The three companies in separate presentations to the Kirit Parikh Committee on fuel pricing suggested immediate freeing of petrol and diesel prices from government control, sources said.

“The pricing freedom is likely to usher in efficiency of operation due to competition benefiting the consumers,” RIL said in the presentation.

Essar said the timing was appropriate for freeing of fuel prices as crude oil prices have stabilised between USD 70-0 a barrel and rupee was appreciating vis-a-vie dollar.

RIL said the present system of government subsidising the fuel sold by public sector firms was driving the private sector out of business.

“If prices are not freed private sector should also be treated at par with the PSUs,” it said.

Indian Oil Corporation also favoured freeing of petrol and diesel prices but wanted clarity on subsidies on domestic LPG and kerosene.

IOC wanted the government to first commit upfront payment of the differential between retail selling price of LPG and kerosene and the cost of production before the government freed the petrol and diesel prices.

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