You are here
Drivers going super
Owners of high-end motor vehicles reacted swiftly yesterday to the 44 per cent increase in the price of premium gas announced by Minister of Finance Larry Howai in the 2013 budget speech on Monday. The price moved from $4 to $5.75. At Poon Tip’s service station at the corner of Edward and Park Streets, Port-of-Spain, most drivers opted to refuel with super unleaded, the price of which remained unchanged at $2.70 a litre.
Only a few requested premium gas, said manager Nerrisa Joseph. She said two weeks before Monday’s announcement of the hike in premium gas, there was a rush to fill up with both super and premium but especially with super. She said after Finance Minister Larry Howai said premium gas would go up by $1.75 per litre—from $4 to $5.75—sales of super gas soared.
“Super gone right up but not premium. Many drivers have already switched from premium to super since the budget,” Joseph said, adding: “Mostly people driving company vehicles and those owning high-end vehicles continued to put premium but a few people who came in driving high-end cars also switched. What they did was put a gas treatment and immediately put the super.” She said that had resulted in an excess of premium gas at the service station.
“I have doubled up on the super gas. Right now I have not ordered any premium gas because it does not make sense. Sales in premium has drastically dropped. It is not selling like before,” she added. At the Richmond Service Centre, Richmond Street, Port-of-Spain, one employee said: “Although they have been complaining drivers have been coming in and putting super and some say they simply want to see the effect it would have on their mileage.”
He said other drivers chose to mix the two types of gas. He added: “Some drivers either want 50/50 or 60/40 in their tanks. That is, they want either $50 in super and $50 premium or $60 in super and $40 in premium. “They said since the premium is a better quality gas there would be fewer sediments in their gas filter but they mix it with super because super takes longer to burn out.”
CEO of United Independent Petroleum Marketing Company (Unipet), Ron Milford, said yesterday the price hike had resulted in drivers “experimenting” to determine how best they could get value for their money. He predicted that within the coming weeks more drivers would be making the switch.
He said: “It’s no secret. Super sales will increase. What we are seeing is consumer behaviour. Premium gasoline has increased by 44 per cent and that is a huge dent in the pocket of many people so some have no choice but to switch. If that does not work, then they might have to go back to premium,” Millford said. If a driver paid $240 to fill a six-litre tank before the presentation of the 2012/2013 budget, he would now have to fork out $345 —an increase of $105, he said.
To fill a four-litre tank before the budget cost $160 but a driver would now be required to pay $230 to fill up. At all Unipet service stations, Millford added, sales of super gasoline also have increased, as many drivers said they could no longer afford to use premium gasoline.
With many drivers switching from premium to super gasoline, many also have expressed concern about the effect the lower-grade gasoline might have on their engines. However, a statement on the Web site of the National Petroleum Marketing Company Ltd (NP) says the octane requirement of an engine determines the type of fuel that should be used. It said the gasoline fuels marketed by NP were all unleaded and gave the octane ratings as:
• Super unleaded — 92 minimum
• Premium unleaded — 95 minimum
“The owner’s manual of every vehicle indicates the minimum octane of the fuel to be used,” NP said. Citing two examples, the statement added: “A vehicle requiring a fuel octane rating of 91 minimum can safely use super unleaded (92 minimum). “A vehicle requiring a fuel octane rating of 93 minimum needs to use premium unleaded (95 minimum) and not super unleaded.”
Saying no special requirements were necessary to switch from premium to super gasoline, NP said for an engine with an octane rating of 92 or less, moving from premium to super gasoline should not cause:
• Damage to the engine
• Clogging of fuel injectors
• Increase in vehicle maintenance cost
• An abnormal amount of carbon build-up
It warned: “If, however, a fuel is used that is lower than the octane rating required by the engine, it will result in ‘pinging’ or ‘metal-on-metal clinking.’”
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.