Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Petrol prices likely to stay

Petrol price may come down again only if the two-week average crude oil price beginning January is USD39.59 per barrel.

However, this may seem unlikely considering the average crude oil price per barrel currently stands at USD43.27.

The government will have until tomorrow to take price of crude oil into consideration before reviewing the petrol price.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs minister Datuk Shahrir Samad said: "It is only if the average comes down to that level, to see petrol prices going down by, maybe, 10 or 5 sen."

"At the moment, the crude oil price is USD39.18 per barrel, and I don't think it will come down drastically (today) to affect the average," he said when announcing the 2009 Chinese New Year Price Control Scheme.
The last reduction of fuel price was mid last month when the price at the pump came down by 10 sen to RM1.80 (RON97). The price of crude oil per barrel was at USD47 then.

Although the price of crude oil took another tumble late December to USD36 per barrel, it bounced back up early this month to USD49 due to the Gaza offensive.

On the fuel rebates, Shahrir said there may not be a new system once the current one expires in March.

"The rationale behind giving the fuel rebates is to assist the public when price of petrol were suddenly increased to RM2.70 last year.

"But that price structure was only between June and August before steadily declining, so public only had three months of hardship," he said asking if the extra money had gone to their pockets or for a new handbag.

He said now that petrol prices are lower, there is no need for a fuel rebate system.

"But it doesn't mean you can continue to speed and drive recklessly. Be economical and curb wastage, although prices are low for now," he said.

He did not discount a possibility of a different rebate system if petrol prices were to shoot up again.

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