For the final week of August, the government has maintained the price of RON97 petrol at RM2.65 per litre. Could it be as a ‘present’ for the coming Merdeka Day celebration, the first one which will be organised by the government? Of course, with the challenging financial situation that the government is facing, it would not want to lose money by not raising the fuel price when it is necessary to do so.

During the 3-month period when the Goods & Services Tax (GST) was zero-rated as a prelude to being abolished. RON97 petrol also did not have GST imposed on it. The grade did include GST in its price computation before. Come September, it may see a price revision when the Sales & Services Tax is introduced. However, it is likely to still be incorporated in the pump price as before.

RON100 and Shell’s V-Power Racing fuels would also have a sales tax component incorporated in their price as well.

Today, let’s consider the debate about saving weight by filling the tank with less fuel and running with a full tank. Reducing the weight a vehicle has on board does make a difference to fuel consumption. The engine has to work less hard to attain a desired speed and therefore needs to burn less fuel. That’s the reason why engineers work so hard to remove weight from the structure of a car – but without compromising safety.

Motorists are also always advised to keep weight carried to a minimum so golf bags not required daily should be kept at home and not in the ‘store room on wheels’. Keeping many pairs of shoes in the car probably won’t make much of a difference though.

But what about fuel? To reduce weight, fuel tanks are even been made of plastic these days but the weight of the fuel they contain cannot be reduced. One litre of fuel weighs around 0.78 kg, so a Kia Picanto which weighs 983 kgs would have a fuel weight of 27.3 kgs with its 35-litre tank completely full.

27.3 kgs is unlikely to make a big difference to fuel consumption just as half of that weight would also have almost no impact. And for cars with bigger fuel tanks, the greater weight of fuel is also unlikely to make a big difference since the bigger cars will also have more powerful engines.

So filling up to the fullest each time is a better idea, more so since you won’t have to visit the station more often. However, when you have a full tank, you might be tempted to drive a bit faster since you have more fuel to spare as compared to when the needle is low and you realise that you should conserve fuel for as long as possible.

[Chips Yap]

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