India is looking at ways to keep rising fuel prices in check, its oil minister said on Monday, with retail rates for diesel and petrol touching record highs in capital city New Delhi and financial hub Mumbai.
Spiralling petrol prices touched fresh record levels in Delhi and Mumbai on Monday, at Rs 76.57 and Rs 84.40 per litre respectively.
On Sunday, the fuel price breached the all-time high levels touched in 2013 and was priced at Rs 76.24 and Rs 84.07 per litre in both the cities.
On Monday, in the other major cities like Kolkata and Chennai, the price of the fuel rose to near five-year high levels, at Rs 79.24 and Rs 79.47 per litre.
According to observers, this rise in transportation fuel prices can be attributed to the recent surge in global crude oil prices and high excise duty in the country. On Monday, Brent crude oil was priced around USD 79 per barrel.
Diesel prices, which have already reached unprecedented levels, set new records across the country. In Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, diesel was sold at Rs 67.82, Rs 70.37, Rs 72.21 and Rs 71.59 per litre, respectively.
The government who kept the prices unmoved for 12 days mainly due to karnataka elections. Opposition leaders have criticised the government for failing to rein in rising fuel prices, a politically-sensitive issue in one of the world's biggest economies.
India is particularly at risk from stronger global prices for crude oil as it is the No.3 importer of the commodity, buying about 80 per cent of its oil needs.
On Monday, industry lobby group FICCI called for an immediate cut in the excise duty on oil imports.
The cost of the growing thirst for oil around Asia will surpass $1 trillion this year, about twice as much as in 2015 and 2016, as oil prices touch $80 per barrel and continental demand hits a record.