Fuel prices hit all-time high in Patna, sales dip by 20% | Patna News

PATNA: Fuel prices hit an all-time high in Patna as petrol was sold at Rs 105.36/litre and diesel at Rs97.31/litre on Monday. Experts say the rates are likely to increase further due to rising prices of crude oil in international market.
The rising fuel prices have adversely affected the middle and lower income groups, which have already been hit hard due to Covid pandemic. Petrol and diesel prices in Patna have been hiked by Rs1.20 and Rs1.40/litre, respectively, in the last 5 days, bringing the sales down by 20%, said Ashok Kumar, proprietor of a fuel station near Dak Bungalow crossing here.
The oil companies have revised the petrol and diesel prices for four consecutive days since September 30. “We are expecting the prices to increase further, as the international rates of crude oil may rise. About 20% sales have already been affected,” Ashok said.
After a fall of 24 paise per litre in petrol rates in August, there has been an increase of 45 paise per litre in September and 60 paise in October so far. Diesel prices, after declining by 74 paise per litre, increased by Rs1.40/litre in September and 70 paise in October.
Sudhanshu Kumar, an economist at the Centre for Economic Policy and Public Finance, Patna, told the newspaper that this time the fuel prices are increasing because of rise in international crude oil rates. “It has gone up from $73 per barrel on September 20 to $80 per barrel on October 4. It is expected to cross $90 per barrel in the coming days. Therefore, we will see further increase in the petrol and diesel prices in the coming days. Efforts are on to shift from petroleum to ethanol blending and increased use of electric vehicles. But this change will take some time. Till then, cost of transportation is going to be high,” Sudhanshu said.
Economist DM Diwakar, however, said if the government failed to follow the economic fundamentals, the chances of revival of the economy would decline. “In such a case, there are limited options for the government for resource generation; that is why the fuel prices are increasing. The government has no other means to cover up the loses as well as to generate funds to run its programmes,” he said.
“It is a lame excuse to increase the fuel prices based on speculations. When the prices fell, why did not the government reduce the rates? If they want to change the prices based on international rates of crude oil, then they should let the market decide,” he added.
The fuel prices have a cascading effect on other commodities, especially household and kitchen essentials like grocery items, cooking oil, vegetables and fruits, among others. Many families are struggling to grapple with multiple issues, including cash flow and rise in commodity prices.
Auto driver Ranjeet Kumar said he earns only Rs100 to 120 per day, which is not enough even to fulfil the basic needs of his family. “Many of my friends left this profession, as the prices of diesel have been increasing at a rapid pace. The prices of LPG and essential commodities have also increased,” he said.
Kadamkuan resident Shweta Kumari (39) said monthly budgets have been hit hard by the rising fuel prices. “Unprecedented increase in the prices of LPG cylinders and edible oil has further squeezed the household budgets, especially when the festival season is round the corner. We have kept some savings for medical emergency, by cutting our expenses,” she said.

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