NEW DELHI : Ahead of the Diwali festival, the price of petrol and diesel fell by 21 paise and 17 paise, respectively, this week. At 6 am today, fuel retailers dropped petrol price by 11 paise and that of diesel by 6 paise.

In New Delhi, a litre of petrol today costs 73.06, diesel 66. In Mumbai, petrol is priced at 78.68 a litre and diesel 69.17 a litre. If you are in Chennai, then you will have to pay 75.87 a litre for petrol and 69.71 for diesel.

Fuel rates, which had jumped up last month following attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities, have been on the decline in India this month. So far, there has not been a single day of increase in petrol, diesel price this month.

In the international market, crude oil rates have, however, increased this week over hopes of a cut in crude oil output by oil producing nations. Brent crude was down 35 cents at $61.32 today but the benchmark was set for a weekly gain of more than 3%.

The fuel retail market in India is now in its way for a reform as the government has allowed even non-oil companies to start petrol pumps. The move will facilitate entry of global giants such as Total SA of France, Saudi Arabia's Aramco, BP Plc of UK and Trafigura's downstream arm Puma Energy.

State-owned oil marketing companies - Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) - currently own most of 65,554 petrol pumps in the country.

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