The Centre on Thursday announced a cut in the prices of petrol and diesel by Rs 2, effective from Friday.

In a social media post, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for proving that “the welfare and convenience of his family of crores of Indians is always his goal”.

The cut in fuel prices comes weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The Election Commission is yet to announce the schedule for the polls. In 2019, the model code of conduct for the general election was imposed in the second week of March and polling took place between April and May in seven phases.

The oil marketing companies have informed the petroleum ministry that they have revised the fuel prices across the country. The price of petrol and diesel varies from state to state and is determined by different factors, including freight charges, value-added tax and local taxes.

In Delhi, the price of petrol starting on Friday was Rs 94.72 per litre. A litre of diesel was priced at Rs 87.62 per litre. Earlier, the cost of petrol was Rs 96.72 per litre and Rs 89.62 per litre for diesel.

In Mumbai, the price of petrol on Friday dropped from Rs 106.31 per litre to Rs 104.21 per litre. The diesel price changed from Rs 94.27 per litre to Rs 92.15 per litre.

“Reduction in petrol and diesel prices will boost consumer spending and reduce operating costs for over 58 lakh heavy goods vehicles running on diesel, 6 crore cars and 27 crore two-wheelers,” the ministry said in a social media post.

Puri compared the fuel prices with those in Europe, saying that petrol and diesel were more expensive there than in India.

This is the first reduction in the prices of petrol and diesel since May 2022, according to reports.

Opposition leader P Chidambaram said that the reduction in the prices was the same kind of “sleight of hand” that was practised in increasing the cost of liquified petroleum gas and then reducing it before elections.

On March 8, Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government had announced a reduction of Rs 100 in the price of domestic liquified petroleum gas.

The Congress leader questioned whether the Centre will say that the fuel prices will not be increased if the BJP returns to power after the Lok Sabha elections.