A rise in petrol prices is not a new phenomenon for Kerala. After its deregulation in June 2010, petrol price was hiked eight times. Research states that in April 1989, petrol cost Rs 8.50 per litre, while diesel was Rs 3.50. Today, petrol costs Rs 65.6 per litre, after a Rs 5 increase on May 15, 2011. Due to public concern, the Kerala government waived off sales tax on the hiked portion of the price, which brings the price down by Rs 1.25 per litre. A study conducted by the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) at various petrol pumps in Kochi shows a 17% reduction in petrol sales in litres after the hike and an 11% reduction in petrol sales in rupees.
This hike in petrol prices is sure to hurt the common man, irrespective of class or creed. However, rising fuel costs is also an opportunity to promote the usage of public transport. An endeavour like Bus Day assumes larger significance here, not just to mitigate concerns of rising fuel costs, but also to promote the cause of sustainable development.