The Telegraph
Tuesday , October 16 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Premium fuel supply dries up

New Delhi, Oct. 15: State-owned oil firms have almost stopped producing premium petrol and diesel as they are unable to find takers for the product because of the huge price difference.

In Calcutta, normal petrol costs Rs 75.44 per litre but a premium brand — BPCL’s Speed — costs Rs 10.35 more. BPCL’s Speed 97 is more expensive — it costs Rs 23.48 more.

The PSU’s premium diesel brand, Hi-Speed, costs Rs 16.96 per litre more in Calcutta compared with its unbranded rival, which is available for Rs 50.61.

Branded petrol and diesel prices rose steeply last month in tandem with higher prices of global crude. Though unbranded diesel prices rose, the government spared consumers a price hike in petrol by cutting the excise duty on the fuel by Rs 5.50 to Rs 9.28 per litre.

“Sales are almost zero… There are no buyers (of premium diesel or petrol) at these prices. We are rationalising the infrastructure. We will produce branded fuels only if there is demand from dealers,” Indian Oil Corp’s director marketing M. Nene said at a conference here today.

Hindustan Petroleum Corp officials said the stocks prior to last month’s price hike had not been exhausted yet, and oil companies would supply branded fuel only if there was a demand.

“In 2007-08, the price differential between branded fuel and non-branded ordinary fuels was just 60 paise a litre, branded fuels used to contribute 20-30 per cent of our petrol and diesel volume sales,” said a senior BPCL official.