The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) launched an online petrol pump price comparison website yesterday.
While there are already other such guides in the market, Fuel Kaki at https://fuelkaki.sg/ is the first to be interactive, allowing users to compare actual spending across brands.
It provides information in a more legible format and is more user-friendly than other similar portals. It also promises to offer more timely updates.
The website's strongest proposition is that it can calculate the effective price a consumer pays based on ongoing promotions and methods of payment, such as with credit cards or fuel cards.
Mr Melvin Yong, chairman of Case's consumer empowerment task force, said yesterday that while pump prices are generally transparent, the effective prices that motorists eventually pay could differ widely because of various card-based or loyalty-linked promotions.
He said this initiative - which follows a mobile app launched last September called Price Kaki that compares grocery and food prices - is "all about information availability".
He said the Fuel Kaki portal will evolve to be more user-friendly.
"We will see how useful it is to consumers," he said. "We will gather feedback and will consider other functions."
One example could be an alert whenever prices are adjusted, and another could be flashing the lowest price permutation.
He said that as consumers do not have available information, many fill up their car according to convenience or habit.
"Let's see how this will change consumer behaviour," he added.
Case said its site is supported by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS), and "will give motorists access to one-stop information on retail fuel prices and promotions in Singapore and the estimated effective prices that they will be paying".
The CCCS had noted that promotion schemes offered by petrol retailers "are not easily comparable" because of differing terms and conditions. It had recommended a comparison portal or mobile app "to improve the transparency of the effective retail petrol prices that consumers pay".
Case said its initiative has the support of ExxonMobil, which operates the Esso station network here.
Along with newcomer Sinopec, Esso's pump prices are not published, and consumers have to drive to their stations to find out the rates. Case said it took "some persuading for Esso to come on board". Nevertheless, it added that it is "pleased to have the support of Exxon".
Case said it will "endeavour to check on such pricing and promotion information, and update the website directly in a timely manner".
Motorists interviewed said they patronise petrol stations according to convenience and habit. But those who checked out Fuel Kaki were surprised at the actual cost differences between brands and cards.