Lower prices killing us, say petrol dealers


(The Star) – Petrol dealers claim many stations may have to close down should fuel prices drop further, citing high losses.

Petrol Dealers Association of Malaysia president Datuk Hashim Othman said the fuel price drop had led to dealers incurring losses of between RM20,000 and RM100,000 each.

“If the drop was only a few sen, we could absorb the losses. But now with the 35 sen drop (for petrol), we’re buying it high and selling it low.

“If this carries on, many of us will have to close down,” he told The Star.

Previously, RON95 and RON97 sold for RM2.26 and RM2.46 a litre respectively, while diesel sold for RM2.23 a litre.

New prices which kicked in yesterday saw RON95, RON97 and diesel being sold at RM1.91, RM2.11 and RM1.93 respectively.

Petronas Petrol Dealers Association president Datuk Abu Samah Bachik feared that stations would close down if prices were to drop another two to three times.

“All dealers in the country are affected, none of us are exempt from this,” he said.

Abu said dealers were in discussion with the Government on how to tackle the problem.

Hashim was previously quoted as saying that dealers were supposed to have at least three days’ worth of fuel stock, adding that operating licences could be withdrawn if these ran out.

This, he said, was because petrol and diesel were considered essential items.

Asked to confirm rumours that dealers were running out of supply, Hashim said on Thursday that this might have been due to motorists holding out from buying fuel until after the new price change.

“Some (stations) do run out of fuel because people aren’t buying before the end of the month. But when the price goes down, everyone rushes to buy,” he said.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consu­merism Minister Datuk Hasan Malek confirmed that dealers were seeing high losses.

Asked what the Government would do, he replied, “For the time being we’re seeing what’s happening, but we’re meeting with the oil companies and the dealers (about this).”

Fomca secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj said the changes meant petrol stations had to deal with it, citing the global drop in crude oil prices.