Starting from May 1, petrol and diesel prices will change every day in sync with international rates, much like what happens in most advanced markets.
The five cities where the pilot for daily price revision will be implemented are Puducherry, Vizag, Udaipur, Jamshedpur and Chandigarh.
State-owned fuel retailers Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) will launch a pilot for daily price revision in five select cities from May 1 and gradually extend it to all over the country.
The IOC, BPCL and HPCL together own over 95 per cent of nearly 58,000 petrol pumps in the country.
State fuel retailers currently revise rates on 1st and 16th of every month based on average international price of the fuel in the preceding fortnight and currency exchange rate.
Instead of using fortnightly average, pump rates will reflect daily movement in international oil prices and rupee-US dollar fluctuations.
“It is technically possible to change rates daily, but we have to first do a pilot. Once pilot is done and its implications are studied, we will extend it to other parts of the country,” IOC Chairman B Ashok said.
While Ashok said the pilot is to be “launched within one month” and did not give a specific date, industry sources said the pilot is planned to be launched on May 1.
Daily price change will remove the big leaps in rates that need to be effected at the end of the fortnight and consumer will be more aligned to market dynamics.
While petrol price was freed from government control in June 2010, diesel rates were deregulated in October 2014.
Technically, oil companies have freedom to revise rates but often they have been guided by political considerations.
Petrol price was last revised downward by Rs 3.77 a litre on April 1, and diesel rates were cut by Rs 2.91.
This was the first revision in two-and-half-months as oil firms did not change prices during assembly elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
Ashok said prices of petrol and diesel in a particular market (city or town) will be the same. “By and large, in a particular market it should be same. Though, there might be marginal difference from pump to pump,” he said.