Torque shop

I hear that the Government will soon extend the three-quarter tank rule to Singapore diesel cars going into Malaysia. Is this true?

Yes, there is a high possibility of that happening. Diesel duty was re-introduced at the pumps in February, at 10 cents a litre. As such, it is not surprising that the Government would now extend the three-quarter tank rule to diesel vehicles.

The rule covers dutiable fuels, which until February this year, were petrol and compressed natural gas.

Asked about this, a Singapore Customs spokesman said: "The three-quarter tank rule will apply to Singapore-registered diesel-powered vehicles after the amendment to the Customs Act is passed."

The three-quarter tank rule will have little impact on Singapore motorists overall. Diesel-fuelled cars make up only 2 per cent of the total population of 602,784 cars as at end-April.

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Singapore-registered commercial vehicles, which are largely diesel-powered, are not allowed to enter Malaysia unless they are licensed in Malaysia.

Tour buses are unlikely to enter Malaysia on a half-empty tank. It would be too disruptive to queue up at a Malaysian station to fill up. In any case, these buses usually fill up at "white pumps" here, which continue to dispense duty-free diesel.

On top of all that, diesel car sales will grind to a halt soon, when the new Vehicle Emissions Scheme kicks in in January. The scheme is expected to impose hefty tax surcharges on diesel cars.

CHRISTOPHER TAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2017, with the headline 'Torque shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe