Fuel prices to change weekly starting April

Since the current managed float system that dictated pump prices was introduced just over two year ago, the Malaysian Petrol Dealers Association has urged the government to adopt a weekly revision system instead.

According to the association, the monthly system was open to “manipulation” by oil companies, which adjusted the supply to best benefit them, rather than the downstream players - if the price of petrol and diesel is expected to go down the following month, oil companies would supply large quantities to the petrol dealers, and if it was expected to increase, the supply was decreased. Back when the new float system took effect, the then Deputy Finance Minister, now Second Finance Minister, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani, told The Star that the more than 3,200 dealers could stand to make losses of up to 70% as a result of this.

So, as the fuel dealers had requested, Malaysian drivers will soon have to get used to a new weekly system, starting next month. The Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism said that a weekly ceiling price will be announced every Monday or Saturday, and will also be displayed at every petrol station to avoid confusing the consumer (or fleecing of, we suppose).

Fuel retailers will further have the liberty of either following the ceiling price or lowering it. So, does this mean that petrol prices could vary from station to station, possibly by location as well as by brand? This would certainly open the market up to healthy competition amongst retailers, although price-conscious consumers would have the additional task of hunting for the best price in the vicinity. In other countries, where fuel retailers are allowed to adjust their prices to be competitive, there are websites and mobile apps which help consumers easily compare pump prices, so it wouldn't be too long before we see something similar pop up in Malaysia.

What do you think about the new weekly ceiling price system?  
(A) Don’t mess with the current system.
(B) Yay to competition.
(C) Black cat, white cat, who cares as long as it catches mice.
(D) I don't care. I don't drive.

image: petrolpriceinfo.my


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