On April 5, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri compared petrol price rise to global retail rates in Lok Sabha. He claimed that between April 2021 and March 2022, the retail prices of petroleum had increased by 5% in India, while this rise was over 50% in other developed countries and Sri Lanka.
“We have raised the price of petrol by Rs 9 over 12 days-13 days when the international prices shot up… Gasoline at the pump, comparison between April ‘21 and March ‘22, in the United States the increase percentage is 51%, in Canada 52%, in Germany 55%, UK 55%, France 50%, Spain 58%, Sri Lanka 55% and India 5%,” Puri told the Lower House.
“Our percentage increase is one-tenth of what it is elsewhere. Similarly, I could do for gas,” he said at timestamp 15.16 in the video below.
In India, the retail selling price of petrol is different for different cities and states. The Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell maintains a record of retail prices for four major cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. Since Puri mentions April 2021-March 2022, the period FactChecker has taken into account is April 1, 2021-March 31, 2022.
The above table shows that in one year – between April 2021 and March 2022 – prices have risen by at least 12% in major Indian cities: 12.42% in Delhi, 20.35% in Mumbai, 16.06% in Chennai and 22.67% in Kolkata. This shows that, according to official data, the rise in retail petrol prices has not been just 5% as Puri claimed.
Puri compared the percentage rise in retail prices of petrol in India to corresponding prices in six other countries: the US, Canada, Germany, the UK, France, Spain and Sri Lanka. In the US, the prices of gasoline, according to the US Energy Information Administration are per gallon (3.785 litres) and are provided on a weekly basis. However, mathematically, the percentage increase in price would remain the same whether the prices are considered per gallon or per litre.
According to Energy Information Administration’s records, the price of regular gasoline on April 5, 2021 was $2.857 and $4.231 on March 28, which is a 48% increase, close to Puri’s claim of 51%. But, per litre, the price of petrol is $1.119, which when converted is Rs 84.80 per litre, which is lower than the prices of petrol across all four major cities in India.
In Canada, the price of regular gasoline was 128.1 cents per litre on April 6, 2021, and 179.3 cents per litre on March 29, 2022, according to the Natural Resources portal of the Government of Canada. This marked an increase of 39.9% and not 52% as Puri had claimed.
In the United Kingdom, the price of ultra-low sulphur unleaded petrol was 125.24 pence per litre on April 5, 2021, and 162.65 pence per litre on March 28, according to the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to the Government of UK. This shows an increase of 29.87% and not 55% as the Petroleum Minister had quoted.
The Sri Lankan Ministry of Energy showcases the prices of fuel sourced from Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. The prices of Petrol 92 Octane and Petrol 95 Octane were 254 Sri Lankan rupees and 283 Sri Lankan rupees with effect from March 11, and are currently at the same price.
In April 2021, these prices were 137 Sri Lankan rupees (for Petrol 92 Octane) and 161 Sri Lankan rupees (for Petrol 95 Octane) – which had remained unchanged since September 10, 2019, according to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. This showed that there was an increase of 85% for Petrol 92 Octane and an increase of 75% for Petrol 95 Octane, which is more than what Puri had claimed.
FactChecker was unable to locate official data sources for Germany, France and Spain, so we could not verify that. FactChecker called Puri’s office to request clarification on his statements and was asked to send him an email by an official who did not wish to be named (Phone number 011-23382426). We have sent an email to Puri and this story will be updated as and when a response is received.
This article first appeared on FactChecker.in, a publication of the data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit IndiaSpend.