Motorists have long complained about the petrol prices in Singapore which have remained unchanged amid the plunge in crude oil prices since late March, but the officials have yet to respond to any of the complaints.
Following that, Motorist, a Singapore-based automotive platform was prompted to call for more transparency for petrol prices by starting a petition to the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE), Singapore Ministry of Transport (MOT), Land Transport Authority (LTA), and Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).
The petition has gathered about 10,250 signatures at the time of writing, aiming to hit a target of 15,000 signatures.
“Motorists have tolerated confusing petrol prices in relation to crude oil prices for years on end. It is high time that there is more transparency for petrol prices,” the petition page reads.
Earlier on 21 April, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude hit a new low of US$1.69 (S$2.40) while Brent crude was at US$25.92 (S$36.80). However, the fuel price remained stable as Fuel Kaki – a fuel price comparison website by the CASE – stated that a litre of 92-octane petrol listed at S$2.05 and S$2.09 respectively for all fuel brands.
Fuel prices remained the same since 25 March 2020, even when WTI was around US$20 (S$28.40) and Brent was around US$26 (S$36.92).
Referring to the volatility of crude oil, Motorist indicated that the petrol prices in Singapore “look completely off”.
“Petrol prices should be given as much attention as sectors such as general merchandise retail and air ticketing. These sectors are required to abide by strict laws on being transparent about their displayed prices. Meanwhile, petrol firms are not tied to the same level of transparency,” it noted.
Motorist asserted that petrol prices were not affected when crude oil prices dip, but when crude oil prices increased, the fuel prices are raised almost immediately.
“The Competition Commission of Singapore has said to have found ‘no significant’ difference in the speed of change whether prices increase or decrease. However, significance is a subjective form of measurement,” it stated.
Noting that petrol prices also involved the cost of taxes, administration, storage, transportation, marketing, and others, Motorist said that crude oil prices hold a significant factor because when it increased, the retail pump prices followed “as if the hike is reflected immediately”.
It also cited a quote from Jeremy Chua, who is the editor of Torque magazine, “There is no transparency in the pricing of petrol and diesel in Singapore. This is why time and time again, consumers accuse oil companies of collusion and cartel-like behaviour. Until transparent pricing is mandated, these accusations will continue.”
“We want transparency and honesty in this industry and would greatly appreciate an explanation and possibly have actions taken to subdue this issue that motorists have been fighting against for countless years. We hope the authorities can shed some light on this matter so that we can stop frustrating ourselves over petrol prices,” Motorist remarked.