Apparently the cost of petrol has went up to as much as $2 per litre – that’s easily 30 cents more expensive than what it was about 3 months ago for an Octane-98 petrol.

In view of such hair raising prices, most people have resort to spending less time travelling and preferring to work from home where possible. Of course, this mostly applies to business owners. Most employees would still have to spend time travelling down to their office.

For people who get a fixed reimbursement for travelling during work, it might also spell the end of “benefiting” from the fixed amount each month if the companies do not react to adjust the payment per kilometre travelled.

Heeding Mr Lim Hng kiang’s advice, it might be better to switch to Octane-95 petrol now, since it’s cheaper and isn’t supposed to make much differences to cars.

PROJECT manager Tresno Santoso, 28, hardly shows up at his office these days. Instead, he works from home at least four times a week.

He has cut down on driving to save on petrol, which soared past $2 per litre last week. A full tank for his 1.6L Honda Civic used to cost him $65 but now, Mr Santoso has to fork out $15 more for the same amount of petrol.

By cutting down on trips between his Punggol home and his Kent Ridge office, Mr Santoso refills his tank once every 10 days instead of once a week, which saves him about $80 monthly.

‘Unless it’s absolutely necessary, I won’t go to the office,’ he said. ‘The high petrol price is hurting my bank account.’

Driving instructor Peck Chin Huat, 54, has also changed his driving habits since petrol prices started climbing in April. He no longer picks his students up from their homes. Instead, he meets them near a driving school in Ubi.

‘I can’t afford to waste petrol by picking them up,’ said Mr Peck. ‘My income has dropped 20 per cent from last year because of the high petrol price.’

Soaring petrol prices have hit motorists hard. In the past 11 months, the price of petrol has shot up eight times.

The price for 98-octane petrol was relatively stable from January to March, at $1.637 per litre. But from April, it jumped thrice to reach $1.840 in July. It climbed to $2.030 last week.

This surge in petrol prices brought on by rising crude oil prices – which reached a record of US$98.62 (S$143.11) per barrel last week – has forced some motorists to re-think the way they use their cars.

Of the 30 motorists with whom The Sunday Times spoke, more than half said they avoid making unnecessary car trips.

Ms Huang Li Min, 29, a tutor, said that, instead of driving, she now takes a 10-minute walk to the provision shop near her Ang Mo Kio flat.

Sales executive Alan Ang spends 10 minutes every morning planning his route before leaving his house in Toa Payoh. He makes at least four trips a day to see his clients.

The 31-year-old, who reckons he saves $20 monthly by planning his journeys, said: ‘I’ll try and schedule all the meetings in one area around the same time. Previously, I can be in the north at 10am, then in the west at 11am.’

Sales and marketing executive H.S. Xie, 55, said his $400 transport allowance is hardly enough these days. He meets up to eight clients a day and now spends about $600 on petrol a month, up by $200.

‘I need to top up every three days and each tank is about $65 now, $10 more!’ he said. ‘So now, I spend less on 4-D to pay for petrol.’

Determined not to fork out more petrol money, civil servant Titus Kwok, 29, downgraded his petrol instead. He uses 95-octane petrol, at $1.956 per litre, instead of 98-octane, at $2.030 per litre.

A spokesman for the Singapore Petroleum Company said the company has seen a slight shift towards lower-grade petrol.

Pump assistant J.M. Yu said she gets a earful when motorists drive up to her station in Braddell. ‘They always complain, ‘So expensive!”

She said that one in about every 10 customers will opt for lower-grade petrol, compared to about one in 15 in the past.

Sales executive Eric Yip, 31, goes the extra mile to save on petrol. He drives his Nissan Latio to Johor Baru every fortnight, catches a movie, does some shopping and tops up his tank.

‘The petrol is like half the price here since it’s the same price, but in ringgit,’ he said. ‘I can save about $30 by filling my quarter tank there.’

Some motorists have even switched to public transport. Project manager Tan Chong Hong, 32, ‘parks and rides” whenever he has to run errands in town. He leaves his car in a designated carpark, pays a flat fee of $3 and hops on a train.

‘If I drive and park in town, it may cost more than $20 a day,’ said Mr Tan.

The rise in petrol pump prices has also led to car buyers re-doing their sums. Accountant Brenda Chan, 27, said she is buying a 1.6 litre car instead of a 2 litre car. ‘If not, the petrol alone will cost me a bomb.’

mavistoh@sph.com.sg

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 18th November 2007



Reader's Comments

  1. Tianhong | November 18th, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    It won’t be surprising if it goes up to $3 next yr. So the best is to take public transport instead =)

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