KUALA LUMPUR: SEVERAL areas in the Klang Valley and other states are experiencing an acute shortage of RON97 petrol, after demand for the fuel surged following a reduction in its price on Monday.
The high demand, which came after the price of RON97 dropped to RM2.46 per litre from RM2.55, saw some petrol kiosks double their sales of RON97 from an average of 500 litres daily to 1,000 litres.
The shortage has sparked claims that some parties were hoarding RON97 stock, prior to the implementation of the managed float system on Dec 1, to avoid losses due to the now cheaper prices.
The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry, however, rejected the claims, and maintained that the problem was caused by a sudden surge in demand.
It also pledged that RON97 supply would return to normal by tomorrow.
The reduction in prices saw a petrol kiosk in Kedah ordered to be shut down after it was found short-changing motorists by maintaining old prices.
The kiosk in Sik was found to have sold RON95 at RM2.30 per litre, instead of RM2.26 per litre, after the price adjustment was enforced on Monday.
The government had on Sunday announced that effective Dec 1, the price of RON95 would be reduced by four sen to RM2.26 per litre, while RON97 would cost RM2.46 per litre, down from RM2.55.
The price of diesel, however, saw a three-sen increase from RM2.20 per litre.
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek said petrol kiosks were unprepared for the high RON97 demand.
“Previously, RON97 comprised only 12 to 20 per cent of the supply to petrol kiosks. However, when prices dropped, many motorists opted for RON97 and the kiosks did not have time to order more,” hesaid at an event in Setiawangsa yesterday.
Hasan said, as of yesterday, RON97 supply for southern states had been replenished, and he expected supply for the west coast and northern states to resume by tomorrow.
He rejected claims that petrol dealers were hoarding RON97 supply to sell it once the price increased.
He said the ministry’s enforcement officers conducted routine monitoring, and had yet to receive any information on fuel hoarding.
“As of 10am today (yesterday), there were only 130 petrol kiosks without RON97 compared with 177 stations last night (Monday). All pumps nationwide should be replenished by end of the week.”
He said fishermen and public transportation groups, such as school buses, public buses and taxis, were still receiving their diesel subsidies.
Checks by the New Straits Times at petrol kiosks in Bangsar, Petaling Jaya, and Brickfields yesterday showed that many claimed to have exhausted their RON97 supply for several days.
The operators had hung ‘Out of order’ signs on RON97 fuel nozzles, with some installing padlocks on the pumps.
The operator of a kiosk near Angkasapuri said his outlet’s sale of RON97 doubled from an average of 500 litres a day to 1,000.
“The price gap between RON95 and RON97 isn’t that high any more. People do not mind paying extra to have higher-performance fuel.”
Two operators, one in Jalan Klang Lama and another in Bangsar, claimed their outlets had faced a shortage of RON97 over the past three days.
In Kelantan, operators in Rantau Panjang and Pasir Mas have stopped selling RON97 petrol since Monday, claiming that they had finished their supply.
Following similar reports of RON97 shortage in Johor, state Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Ministry deputy director Mohamad Mokhtar Yeop said it had asked fuel companies to increase the distribution quota to stations facing supply shortage.
Shell Malaysia Trading Sdn Bhd yesterday confirmed that a number of its retail stations in Peninsular Malaysia was experiencing a shortage of V-Power 97 due to high demand.
“We are making every effort to restore supply to the affected sites. We remain committed to provide quality service to our customers.”
A petrol kiosk operator in Johor Baru locked his RON97 fuel pump because of the acute shortage of the fuel.