The government on Monday increased the price of petrol by Rs4.53 per litre and that of high-speed diesel (HSD) by Rs8.14 per litre for the next fortnight ending April 30.

In the latest price review, the petrol price was increased to Rs293.94 per litre from Rs289.41.

Additionally, the HSD price was increased to Rs290.38 per litre for the next 15 days, compared to Rs282.24 over the past fortnight.

The notification from the finance ministry said the price variations were worked out by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority based on price variations in the international market.

Petrol is mostly used in private transport, small vehicles, rickshaws, and two-wheelers and has a direct bearing on the budgets of the middle and lower-middle classes.

Most of the transport sector runs on HSD. Its price is considered inflationary as it is mostly used in heavy transport vehicles, trains and agricultural engines like trucks, buses, tractors, tube wells and threshers and particularly adds to the prices of vegetables and other eatables.

The government did not announce the prices of kerosene and light diesel oil (LDO). Kerosene is mostly used by unscrupulous elements to mix with petrol and, to some extent, for lighting in very remote areas, while LDO is consumed by flour mills and a couple of power plants.

Earlier, informed sources said the prices of petrol and HSD had increased in the international market by about $4 and $4.50 per barrel, respectively, during the last fortnight, before the latest escalation. The price of petrol was projected to be higher by Rs2.50 to Rs2.80 and that of HSD to go up by Rs8 to Rs8.50 per litre.

Interestingly, the imp­ort premium on petrol has dropped by almost 21 per cent to $10.7 per barrel over the last fortnight when compared to $13.50 in last few days of March and the rupee strengthened by about Rs0.40 against a dollar to Rs278.20. The net impact is estimated to be about Rs2.80 per litre increase in petrol price from the existing rate of Rs289.41.

The HSD price, on the other hand, was up in the international market and its import premium paid by the benchmark Pakistan State Oil remained unchanged at $6.50 per barrel.

Although the general sales tax (GST) is zero on all petroleum products, the government charges Rs60 per litre petroleum development levy (PDL) on both products. The government also charges about Rs19-20 per litre customs duty on petrol and high-speed diesel.

The Rs60 per litre PDL on petrol and HSD is the maximum permissible limit under the law.

The government set a budget target to collect Rs869 billion as a levy on petroleum products during the current fiscal year under the commitments made with the International Monetary Fund.

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