As the year comes to an end, the weekly adjustment of fuel prices don’t end on a particularly happy note for motorists even if petrol becomes ‘slightly’ cheaper. For the final 7-day period of 2017 (which continues into the first week of 2018), the government’s management of unsubsidised fuel prices sees a 1 sen reduction for each litre of RON95 and RON97 petrol. In the previous cycle, the prices of both grades went up by 2 sen.

Diesel users have no reason to cheer as the year ends since their fuel continues to cost more with another 3 sen increase per litre. This takes Euro-2M diesel to RM2.26 per litre while the Euro-5 grade will be RM2.36. All prices are effective after midnight today until midnight on January 3, 2018.

Taking an average of all the prices this year, motorists have paid RM2.15 and RM2.43 per litre for RON95 and RON97 petrol, respectively. The average price for diesel has been RM2.08. For 2016, the average prices for RON95 and RON97 petrol were RM1.76 and RM2.11, respectively, while diesel was RM1.65. The higher prices paid for fuel have certainly contributed to the rising costs of goods and services since businesses would have been unable to keep absorbing ever-increasing operating costs.

For example, companies operating the lorries that deliver fish or vegetables across the country would have spent 26% more on fuel this year than in 2016 and while there is competition in business, at some point, the extra cost has to be passed on to consumers. This naturally affects the supply chain as each element experiences increased cost and passes it on. Unfortunately, the consumer is at the end – and can’t pass on the increased so that’s how cost of living goes up.

If you’re lucky to get a salary increment, then it may help offset the rising costs of fuel a bit. But whether you do or not, it’s still a good idea to practice an economical driving style. It doesn’t take a lot of effort as you can save fuel by simple measures like switching off the engine when waiting for your kids after school and having the engine tuned regularly so it runs efficiently. Sticking to speed limits on highways can also make a difference and while you should obey the laws, many do not and use up more fuel by travelling at very high speeds.

[Chips Yap]

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