Well, it seems like the down trend is here to stay for a while – overstaying, if I may add salt to the wound. For the 5th time, fuel prices have dropped, hitting $1.770 for diesel at Shell after discounts. In fact, the last dip is the steepest dip that has ever occurred in the last 5 years. This is probably also compounded by the strengthening of the US dollar, which means that lesser US$ is required to purchase fuel.

Meanwhile, CNG prices remained unchanged at S$1.80 a kg, and this is likely to rise next month; although Smart Energy, which operates Singapore’s biggest CNG refuelling station in Mandai, will reduce prices "purely for goodwill".

People who have converted to CNG will definitely not be pleased to know that CNG prices will be going upwards while that of petrol is spiralling down. The "goodwill gesture" is probably made because the companies are expecting fuel prices to take a turn for the sky some time soon. However, before that happens, I am wondering when the taxi companies will suspend the fuel surcharge. I am beginning to feel like a flight passenger.

Forth fuel price dip:

Petrol and diesel pump prices fall by three cents

Fourth drop in two weeks but it’s just a respite for motorists: Analysts

By Maria Almenoar

PUMP prices headed south yesterday for the fourth time in a fortnight, but analysts are warning that the good news could be short-lived.

With northern countries stocking up on winter heating fuel and bad weather in the Gulf of Mexico, prices could rise in the near future.

‘Consumers can enjoy a breather for now but it is unlikely to last long. For every high jump, there is a short correction period, but within no time, it will shoot up again,’ said Mr Ng Weng Hoong, editor of energy news portal EnergyAsia.com

Still, drivers are relishing the second drop in petrol prices this week.

Petrol retailers lowered rates by three cents a litre yesterday. Prices have dropped 11 cents since July 9.

Though petrol rates are now at their lowest since May, prices are still about 13 cents higher than at the start of the year.

The latest adjustment brings a litre of 92-octane petrol to $2.103 a litre, 95-octane to $2.136 a litre and 98-octane to $2.210 a litre – all before discount.

Ultra-premium petrol like Shell’s V-Power is $2.339 a litre while Caltex’s Platinum is $2.336 a litre.

The latest fall in petrol rates followed a drop in crude prices. Light sweet crude for August delivery ended last week at US$128.88 (S$175.40) a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

A week earlier, it had hit a record US$147.27.

Prices also fell by three cents a litre at diesel pumps to hit $1.963 a litre. The fuel is still about 70 per cent more expensive than at the start of the year.

Cab companies – which mostly use diesel-run vehicles – recently introduced a 30-cent fuel surcharge in a bid to defray costs for their drivers.

The largest cab company here – ComfortDelGro – said that it was good news that diesel prices were heading downwards but added that prices were still volatile.

‘It should be noted that despite the recent decline in prices, fuel prices are still trading at record highs,’ said spokesman Tammy Tan.

The surcharge would be removed when diesel falls back to $1.19, which was the market price in December last year, she said.

While pump prices fell, the price of compressed natural gas (CNG) remained at $1.73 per kg as of yesterday.

CNG is used by some taxi companies and car owners who have added CNG tanks to their petrol-driven cars.

Smart Energy, which sells CNG, said it would review its rates closer to the end of the month when it gets billed by its supplier.


Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Singapore/Story/STIStory_261025.html

Fifth fuel price dip:

Pump prices down 10cents, sharpest drop in 5 years

Fifth cut in three weeks, in the wake of plunging crude oil prices

By Christopher Tan, Senior Correspondent

PUMP prices fell across the board by 10 cents a litre yesterday, the single sharpest drop since 2003.

It was the fifth consecutive slide in three weeks, and it came amid plummeting crude oil prices, which slumped to US$123 a barrel last week. That was down from a record high of more than US$147 a barrel earlier this month.

Mr Ng Weng Hoong, editor of energy news portal EnergyAsia.com, called the drop in oil prices a blip, saying it was triggered by concerns with credit, jobs and inflation.

With northern countries poised to stock up on heating oil for the winter, low prices are unlikely to last, he said. ‘You will see some short-term volatility. Prices could well fall further, but the long-term picture is still bullish.’

The 10-cent drop at Singapore’s pumps yesterday pulled a litre of 92-octane petrol to $2.003 before discount, 95-octane to $2.036, and 98-octane to $2.11.

The so-called ultra-premium petrol is 10 cents cheaper, too. Shell’s V-Power is now at $2.239 a litre, while Caltex’s Platinum retails for $2.236. Diesel is at $1.863.

Light sweet crude ended last week at US$123.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange – US$24.01 lower than two weeks earlier.

The downward spiral has been attributed to lower demand, as drivers cut back on trips and car buyers shy away from petrol guzzlers like sport utility vehicles. The recent strengthening of the US dollar, which is used to trade oil, has also helped to drive prices down.

Compressed natural gas (CNG), meanwhile, remained unchanged in Singapore at close to $1.80 a kg.

Mr Johnny Harjantho, the managing director of Smart Energy, which operates Singapore’s biggest CNG refuelling station in Mandai, said the wholesale price of CNG is likely to rise further next month.

The company will, nevertheless, reduce pump prices ‘purely for goodwill’, he added.

He said Smart would add more hoses at its station by December to cope with rising demand. It also aims to open a new station in Serangoon North by early next year.

Even though petrol and diesel prices have fallen by around 10 per cent since early this month, they are still 30 per cent and 50 per cent higher than they were in January last year.


Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Free/Story/STIStory_262293.html

Article extracted on 25th July 2008

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