For 14th consecutive day, fuel prices increased across country

Govt considers windfall tax on oil producers; ONGC drops 5%

Petrol price was at Rs 78.27, fast approaching the Rs 80 mark, with no relief in the form of reduced taxes from the central and the state government.

Five years ago during the UPA government the crude prices were 40 per cent costlier than subsequent years.

Prices of both auto fuels have steadily risen since May 13 and the price rise coincides with culmination of Assembly elections in Karnataka. Brent crude oil prices had earlier this month hit $80 per barrel - in a first since late 2014 - on looming United States sanctions on Iran.

Along with Delhi, prices in Mumbai and Chennai have already reached record levels and are only reaching new highs every single day. Diesel, to a large extent, drives the Indian economy and surging prices are now burning holes in pockets.

Oil prices declined on Monday on the news of an increase in output from top oil countries comprising Russian Federation, the United States and Saudi Arabia.

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The rises are blamed on an increase in oil prices to above $80 (£60) a barrel, combined with a poor exchange rate for the pound. Diesel prices touched Rs 71.72 in Kolkata, Rs 73.64 in Mumbai and Rs 73.03 in Chennai. Since fuel has not been included under GST, it is still a part of the archaic tax regime. The city Kolkata is also not far away may soon join the Rs 81 per litre club. In 2014-15 the Centre earned Rs.1.3 lakh crore from taxes and duties on petroleum products which increased to 117 per cent in 2016-17 with the income of Rs, 2.7 lakh crore.

Interestingly, the hike came in the wake of marginal drop in price of crude oil in the global market. In other words, it pocketed the gains of low crude prices while transferring the pain of high crude prices to the consumers.

"All we can do is hope the worldwide forces - which have caused the oil price to rise - ease and take the heat out of prices on the forecourt".

Prices of petroleum products have hit an all time high in Indian history. At the same time, within the course of one year, crude prices have gone up to about $80 a barrel from $48 a year ago. For three years, thanks to low worldwide prices, the government is reported to have gained over Rs two lakh crore annually.

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