Reliance cuts retail prices of petrol and diesel

Mumbai: Private sector fuel retailer Reliance Industries cut its retail prices of petrol and diesel for the second time in October, bringing then on par with those of state-run rivals, a company spokesman said.

Reliance, currently the largest private sector refiner and retailer in India - Reliance operates about 1,270 petrol pumps in the country - cut petrol and diesel prices by about Re1 per litre in step with a fall in international oil prices. Reliance, which on October 1 cut petrol and diesel prices by Re1 per litre, had hinted at another likely cut this month.

Reliance was selling petrol about five per cent above the state-controlled prices of about Rs47.50 a litre in New Delhi before October. Sources also point out that even after the cut, fuel sold by Reliance would be about Rs0.50 a litre costlier than those of its public sector competitors.

Public sector retailers Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindsutan Petroleum Corp raised petrol and diesel prices by Rs4 and Rs2 a litre, respectively, on June 5 and have not passed on the benefits of low crude prices to consumers. But, even at those prices, these companies were running huge losses. They were also making huge losses on domestic LPG and kerosene sale and were unlikely to cut prices till Indian basket of crude falls to around $52 a barrel from the current $57 a barrel.

Reliance's dealers have long been demanding that the company sell fuel at the same price as state-run firms to curb falling sales.