Experts: Switching to higher RON petrol not viable

  • Nation
  • Monday, 07 Apr 2008

PETALING JAYA: The proposal to replace the existing octane ratings of petrol – research octane number (RON) 92 and 97 – with RON 95 and 99 may not be viable, said industry experts.

According to a senior manager of an oil company, who declined to be named, the new plan will not be a positive move as it will make no difference to the current classes of petrol.

“Most cars now run on RON 97 and it doesn’t make sense for luxury car owners to fill up with RON 95 or pay more for RON 99, which may be less subsidised or even not,” he said.

“Just to work out the math and make sure I do not pay a lot more, I could easily fill my tank with 70% of RON 95 and 30% RON 99 and get the same quality as that of the existing RON 97,” he added.

At present, RON 92 (sold at RM1.88 per litre) is used mainly by motorcycles while other vehicles run on RON 97 (RM1.92 per litre).

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad had said on Saturday that the proposed system was to have the petrol subsidy targeted at those who need it.

The new system is to enable the Government to save money by allocating most of the subsidy into a single type of fuel, RON 95, instead of the current situation whereby the subsidy is used to equally subsidise both types of fuel.

He said RON95 users would comprise the lower to medium-income groups while those with high-performance and luxury cars can opt for the more expensive and less-subsidised RON99 fuel.

However, owners of luxury cars can still benefit from the Government subsidy, claims BMW Group Malaysia corporate affairs manager Vijayaratnam Tharumartnam.

He said that BMW vehicles are built to perform on RON 95 fuel.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations programme manager of environment desk S. Piarapakaran said the plan was a noble idea to help the lower-income groups but would not solve the bigger issue of depleting fossil fuels.

“The world price of petrol will only keep on increasing as supplies of fossil fuel are fast depleting and Malaysia’s petroleum reserves will be depleted by 2012 or 2015.

“The Government should aim to introduce an alternative to fossil fuel to prepare Malaysian consumers for the inevitable,” he said.

Piarapakaran suggested the use of bio fuel, which is 100% derived from palm oil as a good replacement.

“For heavier vehicles there is bio diesel which comprises 5% bio fuel and 95% diesel,” he said.

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