If you are a RON97 petrol user, there’s good news for the coming Hari Raya holidays as the price of the fuel has been lowered by 6 sen. Following the long suspension of fuel prices prior to the General Elections, the new government decided that the prices of the widely-used RON95 petrol and diesel would be maintained at RM2.20 and RM2.18, respectively, and when necessary, subsidies would be used to keep them at those levels.

For RON97 petrol, formulated to Euro-4M standards, the price would be ‘floated’ according to global oil prices. So last week so an adjustment of a whopping 19 sen to take the price per litre to RM2.66. For the coming week, however, global oil prices must have dropped a bit so the government can set the price to RM2.60.

Subsidising fuel prices is costly and RM3 billion is set aside for the purpose for the rest of 2018. Hopefully, it’s sufficient to offset any increases that will occur if global oil prices go up. Nevertheless, the government is also looking at the application of subsidies to make them more meaningful to the groups that need assistance in this aspect.

Basically, maintaining fuel prices at a low level will mean that prices of goods and services need not be raised due to increased running costs, which is good for us. Whenever fuel prices start to increase too much, transport operators – even school bus operators – may decide to pass on the increased costs of buying fuel and that will start to impact the cost of living.

Planning your drive so that a few different errands can be done on the same trip can help to save fuel.

Anyway, even if the fuel prices don’t go up, it’s still a good idea to try to drive economically. After all, if you can save some money on fuel, you can use it for foodstuff or other essentials. And one tip for reducing fuel consumption which doesn’t really require you to drive like a snail is to try to combine your errands on a journey. This may need a bit of thinking each day but the idea is to reduce distances travelled so your car consumes less fuel.

For example, if you have to go to the supermarket as well as pick up your kids from tuition and also need to buy tickets for the holiday in Bali, try to incorporate all three errands in a single journey. This may require adjusting the times and routes but it would definitely be better than doing each one individually (eg going to the supermarket, coming home and then going out again an hour later).

While saving fuel is a good idea, do not place that objective above safety at any time. If you are travelling far during this holiday break, have a safe journey and remember that it’s better to be 10 minutes late in this world than to arrive in ‘the other world’ early.

[Chips Yap]

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