As 2018 draws to a close and the world awaits the dawn of a new year, the beleaguered Indian motorist and in turn the automotive industry has reason for cheer. Hit for most of 2018 with wallet-burning fossil fuel prices, the Indian motorist has the global crude oil situation to thank as the slide in petrol and diesel prices continues.
Motorists tanking up in Mumbai today will get more fuel for the same money they paid a a week ago, or even yesterday. At Rs 74.47 a litre, the price of petrol has dropped to its lowest this year in the country's financial capital.
At this price, on the last day of calendar year 2018, a litre of petrol costs Rs 3.40 less per litre than it cost on January 1, 2018 when it was Rs 77.87 a litre. And Rs 16.87 less per litre if you compare today's price with that of October 4 -- Rs 91.34 -- the highest ever that this fuel has cost in Mumbai.
Diesel costs Rs 65.76 a litre, not the lowest but a fair bit below the highs it scaled in 2018. On January 1, 2018 diesel cost Rs 63.35 a litre and rose to its highest, like petrol, on October 4: Rs 80.10. The price differential between the two fuels as of today is Rs 8.71 a litre.
For the record,the year 2017 began with petrol being priced at Rs 76.91 a litre and ended at Rs 77.87 a litre with the highest being Rs 79.99 a litre on October 3, 2017. The lowest price at which the fuel was sold in 2017 was Rs 72.66 a litre on April 1, 2017.
In 2014, the highest price that petrol had scaled was Rs 82.07 per litre. The lowest prices that motorists paid – and happily at that – was Rs 62.75 a litre on March 10, 2016. After this date though, as per Autocar Professional’s analysis of fuel prices since then, petrol prices never fell below Rs 65 a litre, continuously marching upwards.
Even as motorists will tank up with a smile today and in 2019, there clearly is scope for a higher level of price cuts on petrol and diesel, given the high level of state and central taxes on the fossil fuels. Will the powers that be oblige, more so that global crude oil prices are in sharp slide mode?
Also read: How to calculate your car's fuel efficiency correctly
How the petrol-diesel price differential stacks up over a 5-year period