Petrol and diesel prices were again increased on Monday by 33 paise per litre and 58 paise per litre respectively. This latest hike has taken diesel retail rates to fresh highs.

This is the 16th straight hike since oil companies on June 7 restarted revising prices in line with costs after ending an 82-day hiatus in rate revision, has taken petrol price too at a two-year high.

In the last 16 days, petrol price has gone up by Rs 8.3 per litre and diesel by Rs 9.46 – a record increase in rates of the fuel in any fortnight since pricing was deregulated in April 2002.

Petrol price in Delhi was hiked to Rs 79.56 per litre from Rs 79.23 while diesel rates were increased to Rs 78.55 a litre from Rs 78.27, according to a price notification of state oil marketing companies.

Meanwhile In Mumbai, petrol was being sold at Rs 86.36 per litre and diesel to Rs 77.24. Whereas in the southern city of Chennai petrol was at Rs 82.87 per litre and diesel at Rs 76.30.

Speaking of the eastern city of Kolkata petrol prices were increased to Rs 81.27 and diesel to Rs 74.14.

Rates have been increased across the country and vary from state to state depending on the incidence of local sales tax or value added tax (VAT).

The increase in rates since June 7 is the highest in any fortnight. When petrol and diesel pricing was deregulated in April 2002, oil companies revised rates every fortnight in line with the cost. They switched to daily price revision in May 2017 to allow cost to reflect instantaneously in retail rates.

According to pricing data, the maximum rates have increased in any fortnight was Rs 4-5 per litre.

Prior to the current rally, the peak diesel rates had touched was on October 16, 2018, when prices had climbed to Rs 75.69 per litre in Delhi. The highest-ever petrol price was on October 4, 2018, when rates soared to Rs 84 a litre in Delhi.

When rates had peaked in October 2018, the government had cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 1.50 per litre each. State-owned oil companies were asked to absorb another Rs 1 a litre to help cut retail rates by Rs 2.50 a litre.

Oil companies had quickly recouped the Re 1 and the government in July 2019 raised excise duty by Rs 2 a litre.

The government on March 14 hiked excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 3 per litre each and then again on May 5 by a record Rs 10 per litre in case of petrol and Rs 13 on diesel. The two hikes gave the government Rs 2 lakh crore in additional tax revenues.

Oil PSUs Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL), instead of passing on the excise duty hikes to customers, adjusted them against the fall in the retail rates that was warranted because of fall in international oil prices to two decade low.

International oil prices have since rebounded and oil firms are now adjusting retail rates in line with them.