NATIONAL

Decrease in petrol prices less than expected

NEW DELHI April 15. The public sector oil companies today announced a cut of slightly over Re. 1 a litre in the prices of petrol and diesel. The decrease is less than expected as the international crude oil prices have fallen substantially in the last few weeks.

With the new rates, the price of petrol in Delhi will cost Rs. 32.49 a litre as against Rs. 33.49 previously while the diesel prices have fallen from Rs. 22.12 to Rs. 21.12 a litre. In the case of Chennai, petrol prices have fallen by Rs. 1.08 to Rs. 35.48 while the diesel prices are now Rs. 23.55 against Rs. 24.65 a litre previously.

In Kolkata, the petrol prices have been reduced by Re.1 to Rs. 34 a litre, while in Mumbai petrol would now cost Rs. 37.52 a litre compared to the existing Rs. 38.59. The diesel prices in Kolkata declined from Rs. 23.51 to Rs. 22.52 a litre and in Mumbai, the price has been cut to Rs. 26.70.

The new rates come into effect from midnight tonight.

A reduction in prices was hinted at earlier last week when the Petroleum Minister, Ram Naik, said that with the global crude oil prices having begun to fall, the oil companies were likely to revise prices accordingly. He gave data to show that ever since the Iraq war began, the prices dipped from a three-month high of $34.73 a barrel to less than $24.

The oil companies have not reduced the prices of petrol and diesel to the extent of the fall in world prices largely because the earlier increase in prices had not covered the entire cost of the higher international rates.

Even so, consumers have been faced with successive price hikes over the last three months with increases ranging at around Rs. 5 a litre for both petrol and diesel.

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