The Centre has room to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by up to ₹8.5 per litre without affecting its target for revenue from the tax on the two fuels, analysts said.
Petrol and diesel prices hover at a notable high, coming after a persistent rise in rates over the past nine months. There have been buzzes by opposition parties and society sections to curtail excise duty to alleviate consumer pain.
“We estimate excise duty on auto fuels in FY22, if it is not cut, at ₹4.35 lakh crore versus budget estimate of ₹3.2 lakh crore.
“Thus, even if excise duty is cut by ₹8.5 per litre on or before April 1, FY22E budget estimate can be met,” ICICI Securities said in a note.
The firm expressed sanguinity for an excise duty cut provided the demand convalescence, hovering privatisation and inflation suspicions but expected it to be more subtle than ₹8.5 a litre.
Excise duty was raised by ₹13, and ₹16 per litre on petrol and diesel between March and May 2020 and now stands at ₹31.8 on diesel and ₹32.9 per litre on petrol.
The increase was to mop up increases from international crude oil prices, falling to a two-decade low. But, with oil prices recuperating, it has not yet restored the taxes to their original levels.
“If the cut is more modest… FY22 excise duty will be higher than budget estimate,” ICICI Securities said.