Hike in auto LPG prices worries drivers

Most of them had opted for the fuel since it is cheaper than petrol

A hike in the price of auto liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by ₹7.37 a litre this month has worried autorickshaw drivers in the city. Though most three-wheelers have the capability to use petrol as fuel, drivers opt for LPG since the fuel is cheaper than petrol.

“A litre of petrol costs ₹76, whereas LPG costs ₹49.70. So we will naturally opt for LPG, the cheaper option. But when its price too goes up, we cannot afford to get paid the same for trips. Every week we also have to buy oil that costs ₹180 a litre,” said Yuvaraj, an autorickshaw driver.

In September 2019, a litre of auto LPG in the city cost ₹36.23; it went up marginally to ₹36.76 in October, climbed up to ₹40.43 a litre in November and in December it was at ₹41.34. This year, last month, it increased to ₹42.33 a litre. Last February, a litre of auto LPG was priced at ₹39.95. Last year’s maximum was in June, when a litre cost ₹45.43. But this year, the price of auto LPG has climbed way beyond that, and this is happening at a time when petrol and diesel rates are coming down every day.

Many autorickshaw drivers have opted to drive for private companies such as Ola and Uber, hoping that they will get at least a few trips every day.

“I drive for both companies and sometimes take regular trips as well. With the companies, the rate is low, since the rate they pay us is based on the last meter rate fixed by the State government, which was in 2013. Petrol and diesel prices get revised every day, and auto LPG, every month. We need a rethinking of meter rates,” said Karunakaran, a driver.

With competition from two-wheeler services, regular autorickshaws, cars and feeder services from Metro, these autorickshaw drivers said that their only hope was the State government.

“We cannot ask Uber or Ola for a hike. If the government had started similar apps, it would have helped us. It would also have earned a revenue like the apps do now. Our unions don’t do a good job of raising issues on our behalf,” said Chandrasekar, an autorickshaw driver, who was driving cars till about six months ago.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 6:00:38 AM |

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