India hikes petrol, diesel prices
NEW DELHI: The Indian government Wednesday announced a rise in petrol and diesel fuel prices, saying its hand had been forced by the increase in global crude oil prices.
From midnight, petrol will cost four rupees (eight US cents) more per litre while diesel will cost two rupees extra, Oil Minister Murli Deora said.
The government has twice raised fuel prices, in February and June last year, stirring widespread political anger and worries about higher inflation.
A drop in crude prices towards the end of 2008 allowed the government to roll back some of the increase in December, but Deora said fresh volatility in the international price had forced the government's hand again.
"It is painfully necessary to increase the price, we hope people will understand," Deora said.
India imports about 70 percent of its energy needs, mainly oil.
Kerosene prices, known as the "poor man's fuel," were left unchanged, as was the cost of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders, also used for cooking.
An Indian petrol station employee counts currency notes in New Delhi in June 2008. The Indian government Wednesday announced a rise in petrol and diesel fuel prices, saying its hand had been forced by the increase in global crude oil prices.