ERPs and COEs may never break my bone, but the rising fuel cost will, adopted from the common saying of sticks and bricks. It find it quite strange that people will only start feeling the pinch on petrol, but does not feel the pinch from ERP (referring to those who drives through the ERP everyday).

I guess to a certain extent, you can avert rising ERP costs more easily by planning your routes early or leaving earlier/later, but the moment you start your engine, you don’t have much choice but to bear with the rising cost of petrol.

Perhaps this might give the government more ideas on how to curb jams effectively – by imposing a 10% fuel surcharge every time the drivers top up their petrol at the fuel station. This 10% can be attributed to saving the environment. Somehow.

Of course, what happens when you have a car and fuel is too expensive? Downgrade the fuel lor. Just like vegetables. Just like food. Just like HDB flats. (thanks to spyer for pointing this out)

DRIVERS looking for some respite from sky-high petrol prices should consider changing to a lower grade of fuel, according to one expert.

Consultant Ong Eng Tong, a 40-year veteran of the oil industry, said many drivers think pricier petrols will make their cars go faster – but that is not how it works.

‘If 92-octane is sufficient, pumping 95 or 98-octane will not bring about any difference,’ he said yesterday.

His advice: Check your car manual to find out the recommended grade of petrol.

Many drivers have turned to penny-pinching after the country’s four petrol retailers raised their prices on Wednesday – all within the span of eight hours. All but one grade of petrol is now above the $2 mark – a record.

The price hike has forced businessman David Lim to downgrade the petrol for his car. For the past two months, he has filled his Toyota Camry with 95-octane, instead of 98-octane.

‘I won’t try 92-octane unless I’ve no choice,’ said Mr Lim, 55.

But that isn’t such a bad thing, according to Mr Ong. Most Japanese and Korean makes will do fine with 92-octane, the lowest grade of petrol available here.

‘(Even) 95-octane is good enough for cars from Mercedes-Benz and BMW,’ said Mr Ong.

‘In fact, in Germany, they only have 95-octane.’

Before discounts, 98-octane petrol now costs $2.08 a litre, while 95-octane and 92-octane cost $2.006 and $1.973 respectively.

Motorists who make the switch from 98-octane to 95-octane could save $7.40 per 100 litres. Dropping from 95 to 92 would lop $10.70 off 100 litres.

Mr Chua Kim Leng, 40, said he would resort to a more drastic change should petrol prices continue to rise.

Mr Chua, the owner of a 1.8 litre-MPV, said he would consider looking for a smaller car.

Some may abandon the road altogether. Car owner Wong Wan Ying, 44, said: ‘If prices continue to rise, I might have to stop driving.’

Meanwhile, motorcyclists who are already pumping 92-octane are finding other ways to cope with the hike.

Mr Sam Thung, 27, said: ‘I save where I can. My meals used to cost $3 to $4 but now I go for meals that cost $2.50.’

The cook pumps a full tank every day, which costs him $6 – up by about $1 since the start of the year.

Other drivers told the Straits Times they would consider planning their routes more precisely, driving less and taking public transport.

linxinyi@sph.com.sg

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 1st December 2007



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