The push towards electric mobility may take the inorganic route in India, if fuel prices are to be believed. The continuing and surging rise in domestic prices of petrol and diesel is hurting the motorist’s and industry’s wallet each passing day. For residents of Maharashtra, the fuel prices are breaking records.
As per Autocar Professional's fuel price records, the sharp rise in petrol compared to diesel prices has also resulted in the price differential narrowing down considerably (see price table below). From Rs 14.52 a litre at the beginning of 2018 to Rs 11.36 a litre as of October 1, 2018. The impact of high fuel prices is already evident and September sales of passenger vehicles have been muted.
On October 2, 2018 when the nation was remembering and celebrating the birthday of two great Indian leaders – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shashtri – the residents of Parbhani saw the price of petrol touch almost Rs 93 (92.93) a litre, just seven rupees short of the century mark. The story was similar in Nanded (Rs 92.79) and Mumbai (Rs 91.2).
For customers using diesel-engined vehicles, the price of the fuel in Aurangabad touched Rs 80.95, Rs 80.34 in Parbhani and Rs 80.22 a litre in Nanded.
Incidentally, this steep rise in fossil fuel prices comes at a time when the international oil Brent price is around $85.22 (Rs 6,246), which is comparatively less than the record high in 2008 when it had crossed the $125 (Rs 9,161) mark. Additionally, the dollar-rupee exchange rate has also hit lifetime record low of Rs 73.42 against the dollar.
The steep increase in the fuel prices is said to be on the back of expectations of tighter supply from next month. Interestingly, on the other hand, India will also need to work on maintaining its imports on the back of disruption in supply from Iran, which is also the second biggest supplier to the country, on the back of sanctions put in by USA. As per a PTI report last week, the US government recognises India’s need for significant oil imports and is having conversations to ensure alternative fuel supply “so that our friend India's economy is not adversely affected.”
With the fall in the value of rupee and sharply accelerating fuel prices, the Indian motorist is stuck in a jam, with no reverse gear in sight.