Pump prices post double-digit increases in two weeks on the back of costlier oil

The sharpest increases were for diesel, with posted rates going up by between eight and 11 cents since Jan 31, 2022. ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR

SINGAPORE - Pump prices have risen again, up by as much as 11 cents a litre in the latest adjustment, driven by higher crude oil and product costs.

According to Fuel Kaki, a petrol and diesel price tracker set up by the Consumers Association of Singapore, the sharpest increases were for diesel, with posted rates going up by between eight and 11 cents since Jan 31.

Diesel at Caltex and Shell is now $2.36 a litre before discount, and $2.31 at Esso, Sinopec and SPC.

A 10-cent rise means that a taxi driver covering 3,000km a month and filling up at these public stations will incur around $30 more in monthly expenses.

A diesel delivery van logging 4,000km a month will pay $40 more.

Motorists are not spared. Petrol prices have gone up by between five and 10 cents. The only exception is Sinopec's so-called premium grade, which has been adjusted downwards by six cents to $3.23 a litre.

Caltex, Esso and SPC - the only players offering 92-octane fuel - are posting a uniform $2.72 a litre for the cheapest grade of petrol which is usable by most cars here. This translates to a five-cent increase at Caltex, a seven-cent rise for Esso and a 10-cent spike for SPC.

The popular 95-octane is up too, with Caltex and Shell posting a price of $2.78 a litre (up by six cents), Esso and Sinopec advertising $2.76 (up by seven cents) and SPC retailing at $2.75 (up 10 cents).

The 98-octane petrol, unnecessary for most cars here, is $3.23 a litre at Esso (up seven cents), Sinopec (up seven cents) and SPC (up 10 cents); and $3.27 at Shell (up six cents).

The so-called premium 98-grade is going for $3.44 at Caltex (up nine cents), $3.49 at Shell (up six cents) and $3.23 a litre at Sinopec (down by six cents). Only these three brands offer this grade.

Going by brands, SPC has posted the biggest increases, with prices for petrol rising by 10 cents and diesel by 11 cents.

The China-owned retailer, however, is still among the cheapest after discount, although its lead has narrowed substantially with the latest changes. Its diesel is $1.85 a litre after credit card discounts - the lowest among retailers with a sizeable network.

Its fellow Chinese brand Sinopec, which has only three outlets, offers diesel at $1.80 a litre after discount.

The priciest diesel is at Shell, which is selling it at $2.12 a litre with the UOB One card and $2.03 with other cards.

For the best-selling 95-grade petrol, Sinopec is cheapest at $2.16 a litre, followed by Caltex ($2.25 with OCBC Voyage card) and Esso ($2.26 with DBS Esso card).

Surprisingly, SPC's across-the-board discounted price of $2.34 a litre for 95-octane fuel is higher than several card-discounted rates at Caltex and Esso.

Commenting on this, oil industry consultant Ong Eng Tong said it could be that the company has realised it could no longer compete on price against newcomer Sinopec, and that it was now focusing on margin. 

“If it (SPC) lowers its price to compete with Sinopec, and if its volume does not increase, it will be in trouble,” Mr Ong added. 

For 92-octane, Caltex has the cheapest offer of $2.20 (OCBC Voyage card), followed by Esso's $2.23 (DBS Esso card). SPC's $2.31 a litre across the board is the priciest among the three brands.

Brent crude oil price last traded at US$91.41 on Nasdaq, its highest in at least a year. RBOB gasoline, a publicly traded commodity and a proxy for wholesale petrol price, last closed at US$2.76 per gallon, nearly 70 per cent higher than a year ago.

In the same time frame, pump prices here have climbed by 28 per cent for diesel, and between 25 and 27 per cent for petrol. 

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