New Delhi: The unstoppable hike in petrol prices has not just worsened the economic condition of the common man but has dampened the shine of the branded petroleum products also . Demoralized by the unabated hike in petrol and diesel prices since past 18 months, the customers have restrained themselves from buying branded petrol and diesel for better maintenance of their vehicles.

The sale of branded diesel has registered a two-third decline which refuses to show any sign of improvement. Though the difference between the costs of branded and non branded petroleum products has diminished, the customers still have maintained distance from the former.

However, the oil companies are not too pleased with the prevailing trend as the records reveal an enormous downfall in the consumption of branded petroleum products since March. The costly branded petroleum products were being helpful in fulfilling their under recovery.

In September alone, sale of branded petrol and diesel fell by 36.5 percent and 66.1 percent respectively, whereas sale of ordinary petrol and diesel has risen by 6 percent this month.

It is to be noted, the ordinary petrol has witnessed a hike of Rs 10.27 per litre and diesel of Rs 3.37 per litre since January, 2011 but the customers refuse to prefer the branded oil.

A senior official of the Indian Oil said, “The decline in sale of branded diesel is not good for us as the oil companies are incurring a loss of Rs 9.27 per litre.”

He said, while the price of ordinary diesel is set by the government, the oil companies decide on the branded one. Also, the market rate price of diesel is not fully market oriented but a meager Rs 2 per litre more than the ordinary diesel. Branded petrol also suffers under a similar fate as ordinary petrol becoming costlier day by day prevents the customers to shell out Rs 1.50 per litre more for the branded fuel.

Moreover, the oil companies have more reasons to worry as the increasing sale of LPG has lead to more losses for the oil companies. In September 2011, IOC, HPCL and BPCL have distributed 12.71 lakh new gas connections bearing a loss of Rs 260 per cylinder.