Record-high petrol price hits vehicle owners

The petrol rate rose from ₹99.89 per litre to ₹100.17 on Thursday night.  

Vehicle owners, a majority of whom have tightened their budgets due to financial distress caused by the pandemic, are unhappy with the consistent rise in fuel prices. As on Friday, bunkers started selling petrol for ₹100.17 per litre from ₹99.89 on June 17.

With lockdown rules easing but in the absence of bus and metro services, people have been relying on personal vehicles to report to work.

Ashish K. from Bengaluru, who uses his car daily to commute to work, said: “Our salaries have been cut and inflation is on the rise. Increase in fuel price has hit us hard. Two years ago, I spent around ₹4,000 on fuel a month, now it is as high as ₹5,000-₹6,000.”

Others said that even when buses and trains are allowed to operate they may continue to use private transport when travelling during peak hours to avoid the risk of contracting the virus. The number of vehicles in Bengaluru has crossed one crore, of which 70% are two-wheelers.

People in the delivery sector, especially those who have signed up on food delivery platforms, are looking at a further drop in daily earnings. “We spend long hours on the road moving from one location to another. Due to the increased fuel price, our earnings have dropped significantly. I get ₹20 per delivery. If I earn ₹500 per day, ₹200 goes towards petrol. It’s not enough to meet my expenses,” said Sreenivas, food delivery agent.

Last week, the Congress launched a ‘100 Not Out’ campaign across Karnataka to protest against the rising price of fuel. Congress leader and MLA from Byatarayanapura Krishna Byre Gowda criticised the government for adding to the burden of citizens. “These are tragic times, and the Central government has cut taxes on the super-rich, levying more on common people by increasing prices of essential commodities like diesel and petrol. Prices are not high not because of international crude oil prices, but because of the astronomical taxes being levied,” said Mr. Byre Gowda.

He added that the Congress will intensify its agitation. In districts such as Ballari and Shivamogga, petrol touched ₹100 last week.

A. Balaji Rao, president of Bangalore Petroleum Dealers’ Association, said due to lockdown, fuel consumption in the city has dropped to 60%. “Petrol bunk owners get ₹3.12 as commission per litre of petrol and ₹2.16 for diesel. During lockdown, the number of vehicles on the road was less. Due to drop in the sale, we had a tough time as our operational expenses remained the same. After June 14, the number of vehicles moving on the road started increasing.”

RTCs brace themselves

While Road Transport Corporations (RTCS) are currently not operating, they are bracing themselves for an increase in expenditure once they resume services. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) Managing Director Shivayogi C. Kalasad said price of diesel has increased by ₹20 per litre in the last six months. KSRTC spends ₹3,000 crore on fuel per year, which will rise by at least 20-30%.

Diesel price in Bengaluru has risen from ₹92.66 to ₹92.97 per litre. All the four RTCs buy fuel at bulk rates, and are currently paying close to ₹85 per litre.

“For more than 50 days, we have not been running regular services. Even if we resume services, we will be allowed only 50% capacity, whereas spending on fuel will remain higher. We have asked the State government to waive sales tax charged for fuel and relaxing toll fee,” said Mr. Kalasad.

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 11:10:47 AM |

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