Consumer groups want return of RON92, govt fears reintroduction problems

PETALING JAYA: Consumers associations want the government and petrol companies to reintroduce RON92 petrol following recent hikes in petrol prices.

They believe that RON92, which was discontinued in 2009 in favour of RON95, could provide an alternative to the middle and lower income group.

Industry players declined to comment on how much RON92 would cost if it were brought back.

However, a check on Singapore's fuel prices showed its LEVO92, comparable to RON92, currently costs S$2.19 per litre (RM6.66). Its RON97 equivalent, LEVO95, retails at S$2.23 (RM6.78).

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations deputy president Yusof Abdul Rahman said it was timely for the government to bring back RON92 to offset the rising cost of living.

"RON92 could be used for vehicles with lower engine capacity, which mostly belong to those in the lower income group," he told theSun.

Yusof also suggested that the government provide a subsidy on RON92 to assist those in the B40 (bottom 40% income group) bracket.

Malaysian Muslim Consumer Association chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said studies need to be done on RON92 to establish its impact on the environment.

"It may not be suitable for the environment and all vehicle types," he said, adding that the government could alternatively introduce a targeted subsidy initiative.

"For example, petrol subsidy could be given to those earning below RM3,000 per month," he said.

In September 2013, then deputy finance minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan suggested RON92 be brought back as a cheaper petrol option after RON95 price was increased by 20 sen.

Petrol Dealers Association of Malaysia president Datuk Khairul Annuar Abdul Aziz said the reintroduction of RON92 was not a viable solution as the majority of the automotive industry had already moved on and adjusted to usage of RON95 fuel as a minimum standard.

"New cars are made for RON95 and above. Going back will only create havoc to the industry," he said, adding that instead of reintroducing RON92, the government should ensure that RON95 and diesel options were priced and subsidised fairly.

Netizens and several lawmakers voiced their concerns on the continuous increase of fuel prices over the past few weeks, with RON95, RON97 and diesel each costing RM2.38, RM2.66 and RM2.25 per litre respectively for the week Nov 16-22.

The per-litre pump prices for Nov 23-29 is RM2.30 for RON95, RM2.58 for RON 97 and RM2.23 for diesel.

The Finance Ministry on Monday said the government would only intervene if pump prices for RON95 petrol and diesel remain above RM2.50 per litre for three consecutive months.