Lower-octane fuel prices in S'pore rise to narrow gap with higher-octane fuels

Oil companies are trying to woo motorists back to costlier grades in the face of record prices. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - The gaps between low- and high-octane fuels have narrowed as oil companies try to woo motorists back to costlier grades in the face of record prices.

According to the Consumers Association of Singapore-initiated pump price tracker Fuel Kaki, lower-octane fuel prices are still trending upwards while high-octane fuel prices are either holding steady or dipping slightly.

At Caltex, the lower grade 92-octane petrol is now $3.06 a litre - six cents higher than two weeks ago, and the highest this grade has ever been here.

Esso and SPC, the other two operators which offer 92-octane petrol here, are maintaining prices at $3 a litre.

This grade was $2.95 at SPC and $3 at Esso and Caltex two weeks ago, and a uniform $3 in March.

The popular 95-octane fuel is now priced between $3.03 (SPC) and $3.11 (Caltex, Shell) a litre - up from between $2.99 (SPC) and $3.05 (Shell) two weeks ago.

When crude oil was US$130 a barrel last month, the range was between $3.03 and $3.23.

The benchmark Brent crude is now hovering at around US$103 a barrel.

Meanwhile, 98-octane petrol prices are now $3.51 at Esso, Sinopec and SPC, and $3.60 at Shell.

Two weeks ago, they were between $3.47 (Sinopec, SPC) and $3.54 (Shell). Last month, 98-octane was between $3.51 (Sinopec, SPC and Esso) and $3.72 (Shell).

Hence the narrowest price gap between 92-octane and 98-octane is now 45 cents a litre, compared with 47 cents two weeks ago and 51 cents in March.

But the gap between the cheapest 92- and 95-octane fuels has remained constant at three to four cents.

Even before the recent spike in pump prices, triggered by production and supply chain issues and made worse by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, consumers have been moving away from high-octane petrol.

According to Department of Statistics estimates, 98-octane petrol accounted for just 25 per cent of pump sales in 2017 - down from 55 per cent in 2005.

Oil industry consultant Ong Eng Tong said the record prices now would have persuaded even more to migrate from high- to low-octane fuels.

He said he was "not surprised" that pump operators were responding to that shift with price adjustments - namely by raising lower-octane prices and lowering higher-octane rates.

After discounts, Esso offers the cheapest petrol, with its 92-octane at $2.46 a litre (with DBS Esso card).

Caltex, which used to have the cheapest petrol, is now two cents higher at $2.48 (OCBC Voyage card). It also has the dubious honour of having the highest 92-octane price of $2.63 (Unlimited Cashback card).

For 95-octane fuel, Sinopec is the cheapest at $2.38 (OCBC cards) but it has only three stations. Among operators with sizeable networks, Esso has the best deal of $2.49 a litre (DBS Esso card).

The highest 95-octane rate is Shell's $2.80 (UOB One card).

And the price of 98-octane is lowest at Sinopec at $2.76 (OCBC cards), $2.88 at Esso (DBS Esso card) and highest at Shell at $3.24 (UOB One card).

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