A day after the Assembly election results were declared, state-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) on Saturday decided to go ahead with the increase of Rs.5 a litre in petrol price.

The biggest-ever increase in petrol prices, and the eighth since the prices were deregulated in June last year, will come into force from midnight on Saturday night.

The cost of petrol a litre (in Indian Oil Corporation outlets) in Delhi will go up from Rs.58.37 to Rs.63.37 (up by Rs.5, including the tax component); from Rs.61.93 to Rs.67.22 (Rs.5.29) in Chennai; from Rs.63.08 to Rs.68.33 (Rs.5.25) in Mumbai and from Rs.62.50 to Rs.67.71 (Rs.5.21) in Kolkata.

Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum also increased petrol prices by Rs.4.99 and Rs.5.01. However, they said that even after the increase they would still make a loss of Rs.5.50 a litre.

Hinting that another increase was inevitable unless the government decided to compensate the losses they incurred, a senior official of an oil marketing company said the companies approached the government for an increase of Rs.10.50 a litre due to the hike in international crude prices and the high debt burden, but were told to increase the prices by Rs.5. Notably, the companies had been holding back this increase even after crude oil prices touched a two-and-a-half-year high in January this year.

“Though the government might have deregulated petrol prices last year, we still have to seek clearance before announcing any increase. All our requests to the government to devise a mechanism to compensate for losses have not been answered so far. If the Centre does not want the burden to be passed on to consumers, it should compensate us,” the official said.

Keywords: oil price hike