Singapore

Case launches site to compare fuel prices across brands

Fuel Kaki is the first such website to be interactive, more user-friendly

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) launched an online petrol pump price comparison website yesterday.

While there are already other such guides in the market, Fuel Kaki at fuelkaki.sg is the first to be interactive, allowing users to compare actual spending across brands.

It provides information in a more legible format and is more user-friendly than other similar portals. It also promises to offer more timely updates.

The website's strongest proposition is that it can calculate the effective price a consumer pays based on ongoing promotions and methods of payment, such as with credit cards or fuel cards.

Mr Melvin Yong, chairman of Case's consumer empowerment task force, said yesterday that while pump prices are generally transparent, the effective prices that motorists eventually pay could differ widely because of various card-based or loyalty-linked promotions.

INFORMATION AVAILABILITY

He said this initiative - which follows a mobile app launched last September called Price Kaki that compares grocery and food prices - is "all about information availability".

He said the Fuel Kaki portal will evolve to be more user-friendly.

"We will see how useful it is to consumers," he said. "We will gather feedback and will consider other functions."

One example could be an alert whenever prices are adjusted, and another could be flashing the lowest price permutation.

He said that as consumers do not have available information, many fill up their car according to convenience or habit. "Let's see how this will change consumer behaviour," he added.

Case said its website is supported by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore.

Case also said its initiative has the support of ExxonMobil, which operates the Esso station network here.

Along with newcomer Sinopec, Esso's pump prices are not published, and consumers have to drive to their stations to find out the rates.

Case said it took "some persuading for Esso to come on board".

Meanwhile, all players except Singapore Petroleum Company had raised their petrol and diesel prices by three cents a litre on Jan 6.

But with crude oil prices easing since then, they have reverted to their previous rates - starting with Caltex last Friday and ending with Shell yesterday.

The previous increase was sparked by rising crude oil prices, driven up by nervousness over the assassination of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani by US forces two weeks ago.

The fear of war resulting from the killing, which could disrupt oil supply, pushed prices up.

But now, observers reckon the looming global economic slowdown has emerged as having a bigger impact and is driving energy demand down.

CONSUMER ISSUES