Justify pump price increases, says Case to petrol companies here

A Caltex petrol station in Lorong Chuan on Feb 25, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN 
A Caltex petrol station in Lorong Chuan on Feb 25, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN 
A sign showing price changes at an Esso station on Feb 25, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
A sign showing price changes at an Esso station on Feb 25, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE – Petrol companies here have been asked to justify their increase in pump prices, after they were accused of profiteering by the nation’s consumer watchdog.

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) has sent letters to the main players here asking each of them to justify the increases, which in some cases, were larger than the size of the tax hikes. The letters should reach them today.

“Prices were increased beyond the tax increment without proper justification,” said Case’s executive director Seah Seng Choon, adding that the association has received queries from concerned motorists.

If the replies are “not satisfactory”, Case will file a complaint with the Ministry of Trade and Industry for the firms to be asked to reduce their prices, he said.

On Monday, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced during his Budget speech that the duty for premium grade petrol will increase by 20 cents to 64 cents a litre, while that for intermediate-grade petrol will go up by 15 cents to 56 cents per litre.

Pump operators reflected the higher duties within a day. A litre of 98-octane-grade petrol was raised on Tuesday by up to 25 cents per litre, and as much as 18 cents per litre for 95-octane grade petrol.

limjess@sph.com.sg