Punjab’s transporters raised Saturday fares by 20% after the federal government increased the petrol price by Rs25.58 per liter. Inter-city bus travel is now more expensive.
A liter of petrol will now sell for a little over Rs100 again. The price of high speed diesel has been increased by Rs21.31, according to a notification issued by the Finance Division. The prices of kerosene and light diesel oil have gone up by Rs23.50 and Rs17.84, respectively.
“If you’re going to increase prices so much and so suddenly, obviously we will have to increase fares,” said one transporter.
Another driver said the cost of a one-way trip has gone up by Rs3,000-Rs4,000 because diesel prices have gone up. “We haven’t been able to get diesel for two days,” he said.
Passengers say they were already troubled by the outbreak and now the increase in fares will make things more difficult.
“They’ve doubled the fares. No one is around to ask about the poor,” said one passenger.
No government official from the petroleum ministry was available for a comment.
The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority proposes new rates in a summary to the government at the end of every month. But this time the government increased the prices on the recommendation of the Petroleum Division.
The government has cut local prices four times since March 1, resulting in an overall drop of Rs42.1 per litre from Rs116.56 to Rs74.5 per litre (official rates). It was able to do so after international crude oil prices crashed.
However, the government doubled petrol tax from Rs15 as of January to Rs30 now. The government charges sales tax on petrol at 17%, but it keeps changing the amount of the petroleum levy, which is its main tool to increase tax revenue from oil consumption or pass on any relief to the consumers. Presently you pay Rs41 on every liter of petrol, including sales tax.