As coronavirus lockdowns have hit major economies, the international oil prices slumped to a 17-year-low.

The petrol and diesel prices in India have been frozen since March, even though the average crude oil import cost dropped by over a fifth.

Sources informed that another excise duty increase is likely to take place soon as the Centre seeks to reinforce its war chest against COVID-19.

The benchmark Brent crude price dropped by as much as 6.62 per cent to $23.28 per barrel on Monday and the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), another benchmark in oil pricing, fell below 5 per cent to around $20 a barrel.

There has been a reduced demand for oil in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, moreover, an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia has also contributed to the plunge in crude oil price.

“Prices of auto fuels in India had been frozen since March 16 to allow petroleum refiners to make up for inventory losses,” reported Hindustan Times quoting government officials.

The officials further informed that the Centre is considering to increase excise duty on petrol and diesel again to raise additional revenue to fund the battle against COVID-19.

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