Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) turned dearer for households with national oil marketing companies Indian Oil Corporation, BPCL and HPCL increasing the price of each 14.2 kg cylinders by ₹50 with effect from March 22.
What, however, should be of greater concern with revision of the price after more than five months — October 6 was when it was changed last — is the likelihood of more such increases in the weeks ahead. The next hike in domestic cooking gas cylinder price by the companies could well be as early as in the first week of April, sources among LPG distributors said, pointing to a surge in international product prices.
Following the ₹50 increase, a 14.2 kg non-subsidised LPG cylinder costs ₹949.50 in Delhi and Mumbai; Kolkata ₹976; and Chennai ₹965.50. In Hyderabad, the increase took the refill rate beyond ₹1,000 mark. Households now need to pay ₹1,002 for a refill, a distributor said.
The increase in LPG price came on the back of the oil companies raising pump prices of petrol and diesel by almost ₹1 per litre effective March 21 midnight. Following the 90 paise increase that took petrol price to ₹109.08 a litre and an 87 paise hike in the case of diesel, resulting in the fuel dispensed for ₹95.48 a litre, the companies have announced an additional 91 paise and 87 paise increase, for petrol and diesel, respectively, from March 22 midnight. Petrol and diesel prices of the three oil companies differ marginally.
Small hike, big impact
Though small, the impact could still be big on fuelling inflation and have a cascading effect on prices of various products and services. It also signals the resumption of daily revision of fuel prices by the companies, which was not undertaken since early November.
The intervening period saw elections in five States, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, and crude oil prices galloping in the international markets even as tensions mounted between Russia and Ukraine, leading to the present war.
On March 20, the oil companies effected a steep rise, up to ₹25 increase in price of diesel for bulk buyers, which include state transport undertakings, railways, mining firms as well as commercial establishments and offices that require diesel to operate power backup generators. STU buses had in recent weeks switched to filling diesel at the retail outlets, after the price for the bulk buyers was revised upwards.