New Delhi, April 4: State-owned oil firms today pressed for an immediate hike in petrol prices as their losses have mounted to about Rs 8 a litre.
“Officials of PSU oil firms met the senior officials of the petroleum ministry and pointed out the difficult situation under which they were operating and sought the ministry’s clearance to hike the price,” oil ministry sources said.
The company officials also informed the ministry of the difficulty they could face in importing crude to meet demand as the mounting losses were constraining their ability to finance the purchase.
Sources said, “No immediate decision has been taken on increasing prices as the government has to take a call considering all aspects.”
The international price of gasoline (against which domestic petrol prices are benchmarked) have risen from $109 a barrel at the time of the last revision in December 2011 to $138 per barrel.
The oil firms said the desired increase after adding 20 per cent sales tax in Delhi was about Rs 10 per litre and with each passing day, this could further harden because of the fluid global economic situation and tensions in West Asia.
Company officials said since it would be difficult for consumers to accept a steep hike in prices, it should be done in phases.
Oil PSUs are losing about Rs 50 crore per day on the sale of petrol. Though petrol prices were decontrolled in June 2010, the government is the largest stakeholder in the oil firms and it has not allowed a price hike since December because of the Assembly polls in five states.