Let’s Complain About Retail Fuel Prices

Four days ago, just before the retail fuel price hike of six to seven Sen, the average price of retail petrol per litre was USD1.09 (RM4.59).

I won’t touch on the complexities of how we calculate how much we should be selling petrol week after week, but as a rule of thumb, countries that are richer (UK, France, Germany etc) have higher fuel prices. Countries that are less rich, or countries that produce and export oil, have lower fuel prices. The only exception is the US which is economically advanced but has low fuel prices.

How a country taxes or subsidises fuel contributes to the differences in fuel prices around the world. Since all countries have access to the same fuel prices of the international markets, it is taxes and/or subsidies contribute to the difference in retail fuel prices.

This is how Malaysia fares. If you don’t see the names of other countries then it means that fuel prices are actually much higher than Malaysia’s.

I saw ill-informed people saying that fuel prices and the cost of living in neighbouring Thailand are much lower than in Malaysia. There were also those who said that Malaysia should follow the global prices.

My question to them is: if fuel prices in Thailand are much lower, why do we find people smuggling fuel from Malaysia to Thailand and not the other way round?

And as for the cost of living, this is the cost of living indices for Malaysia versus Thailand:

Taking the last three months (from 7 August 2017 until 13 November 2017), the average price of fuel in Malaysia was around RM2.18 per litre with the lowest being RM2.07 per litre on 7 August 2017 and highest at RM2.31 per litre on 13 November 2017.

The average price of fuel per litre on the international markets for the duration was at RM5.84. So, would those asking Malaysia to follow the international markets prices want to pay this sum per litre?

I hope that these gullible Malaysians would pause to breathe and check the “facts” that are being shared in chat groups and social media before hitting that “SHARE/FORWARD” button.

But that is like hoping to see anencephalic babies become Einsteins.