Indian fuel prices fourth highest among top 10 crude oil consuming nations

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At a time when petrol and diesel prices have hit record high, an analysis based on data compiled from various online sources reveals that petrol and diesel prices in India are not only the highest in this region but also fourth highest among the top 10 crude oil consuming nations in the world. 

India is, says the US Energy Information Administration, the third largest consumer of crude oil in the world at 4.14 million barrels a day (mbd), about four per cent of global consumption. The US (19.53 mbd) and China (12.02 mbd) are the top two. 

In this list of the top 10 consumers, India has one of the costliest prices — $1.19 a litre for petrol and $1.05 a litre for diesel. The top three are Germany, South Korea and Japan, based on May 21 international product pricing data available with

Based on the data, the world’s largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia, has the cheapest price among the top 10 consumers — $0.54 a litre for petrol and $0.13 a litre for diesel. Followed by Russia, the US, Brazil, Canada and China. The average global price of petrol last week stood at $1.18 a litre and $1.07 a litre for diesel.

And, data with the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell, an official body here, shows this country had the highest price in the sub-continent, as on May 1. Pakistan’s is Rs 50.67 a litre for petrol and Rs 57.06 a litre for diesel.

Though all countries have access to the same global price for crude oil, retail prices in each depend on taxes. 

In India, the central government levies a fixed excise duty of Rs 19.48 a litre on petrol and Rs 15.33 a litre on diesel; state governments impose value added tax.

“India takes a 15-day average of international fuel prices to set its retail prices. Because of that, we are able to partly take care of sudden spikes in global crude prices,” M K Surana, chairman and managing director of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, told the media last week.

According to industry sources, every $1 increase in international crude oil prices demand an increase of at least 63p a litre in Indian rates. The price of petrol was Rs 78.12 a litre and diesel was Rs 69.06 a litre on Sunday in Delhi. In Mumbai, it touched an all-time high of Rs 85.93 a litre and Rs 73.53 a litre, respectively. 

The Indian basket of crude oil is a weighted average of Brent crude (sweet) and Dubai and Oman crude (sour); it touched $75.95 a barrel on Saturday. On Sunday, Brent crude came down to $76.44 a barrel, after the Opec cartel and Russia said they planned to boost oil output by a million barrels a day, to curb a rally that took the price above $80 a barrel.

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