Shell outlets: shutdown coming?

Suman isn’t the only one. I too noticed that my neighborhood Shell bunk now sells only the premium petrol (Shell supreme or something), cost ranging from Rs 61 – 64 a liter over last month. The BP bunk nearby offers Rs 52 – 55 Rs/liter. 15% is a bit much premium to pay, though I know I get 8-10% better mileage with Shell. So, no more Shell now. And guessing from reduced crowds at this Shell bunk, this seems to be the case with many.

Reliance recently announced shutting down all its retail petroleum outlets (pumps). How long before Shell does the same?

Now, while filling at the BP bunk, I can’t help staring at the diesel rates – Rs 36 odd per liter! That is a third less than petrol, again, a bit too much, and calling out to trade in my petrol car with a diesel.

Its all pretty sad though – us, the consumers not paying the real price for petrol, and more so for diesel. The whole sarkaari petroleum machinery is happy siphoning off money from organized adulteration business (I don’t have proof, so this is loose talk by definition). And by subsidizing the cost of fuel, they keep our mouths shut and voters happy. Wonderful arrangement – that subsidy is like a kickback for us to let distribution irregularities pass off under the carpet.

Will the fuel prices be unreasonably high if sarkaari control over distribution and pricing were to go away? Don’t know. May be not, because loss of subsidy may be offset by more efficient and clean distribution process brought in by private enterprise. Or may be yes. But why should government care?

Entrepreneurship around alternate energy will prosper only if we start paying the real high prices for petrol and diesel, isn’t it? We will change our driving and private vehicle usage patterns only if ‘real’ and high fuel prices start pinching our pockets dry, isn’t it? Its sort of like saying water is important so preserve it, but keeping potable water’s cost so low that you don’t take those threats seriously.

So tell me now. Which diesel is better, Swift VDI and Getz Prime?


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