Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, said on Monday that fuel prices have gone up because of lower production in oil-producing countries on account of coronavirus pandemic. The low production had caused an imbalance in demand and supply, the minister said.
“Oil producing countries stopped production or reduced it during the coronavirus epidemic. A pressure on fuel prices was seen due to this imbalance in demand and supply. A few months ago, crude oil prices were USD 35-38, which has gone up to USD 54-55,” he told reporters.
“Our basic challenge is we have to import 80 per cent of crude oil of our requirement. Consumption has been increasing. India is third as far as energy consumption is concerned,” he said.
He said the focus of the government was on electric vehicles (EVs), solar energy, production of ethanol etc to become self-reliant in the energy sector.
Ethanol production, which was less than 1 per cent of demand when the NDA government came to power in 2014, was set to reach 9 per cent this year, he said. In reply to a query on some people doubting the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, Mr Pradhan said countries across the world were looking at India with hope in the fight against the pandemic.