India is likely to see a savings of more than Rs 2 lakh crore on oil imports in the current fiscal year, as global crude oil prices remain cheaper.
India's oil import bill is estimated to decrease by 35% to Rs 4.73 lakh crore in the fiscal year ending March 2016 compared Rs 6.87 lakh crore last year, PTI reported, citing data from Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
PPAC estimates the country's oil imports to reach 188.23 million tons by the end of this fiscal year, staying just below 189.43 million tons of crude oil imported in 2014-15.
Global crude oil prices continue to trade at multi-year lows due to oversupply, as major oil producers like Saudi Arabia remain reluctant to cut output to defend their market shares.
Many analysts expect oil prices to stay at low levels for prolonged period, as oil supply from Iran, resumption in US oil production and slowdown in global economy may weigh on the prices in the coming months.
However, consumers in India did not get the full benefit from a slump in global crude oil prices since last year, as the excise duty imposed on fuel prices negated some of the gains that they could have got.
Even though the price of the Indian basket of crude oil has fallen significantly since October last year, there was no proportionate reduction in retail prices of petrol and diesel in the country due to rise in excise duty.
The additional tax imposed on fuel prices resulted in lower benefits for consumers, although international crude oil prices have halved since June last year.
The tax component in diesel prices rose from 18% to 38% and on petrol prices, to 49% from 31% since November last year, according to Harshad Borawake, vice-president (research) at Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd.
Due to the tax effect, petrol prices have come down by just about 5% since the beginning of November 2014.