Since the end of March, fuel pump prices have remained unchanged even though crude oil prices fell to negative on Monday (20 April) before rebounding.
Based on Bloomberg report, Brent crude was priced at US$25.92 whereas a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at a record low of US$1.69 as of 9.40pm on Monday.
In spite of this, pump prices have stayed stable.
A litre of 92-octane and 95-octane is listed at S$2.05 and S$2.09, respectively, for all fuel brands, according to Fuel Kaki, a Consumers Association of Singapore which monitors fuel prices.
Prior to discounts, the prices have been unchanged since 25 March during which the prices of Brent and WTI were about US$26 and US$20, respectively.
Diesel is listed at between S$1.69 and S$1.72 whereas a litre of 98-octane is listen at between S$2.43 and S$2.69.
Pump prices that are slow to decline when world prices drop have always been the complaints of motorists, when price changes occur quickly.
“There is no transparency in the pricing of petrol and diesel in Singapore. This is why time and time again, consumers accuse oil companies of collusion and cartel-like behaviour,” said Jeremy Chua, editor of online motoring magazine Torque.
“Until transparent pricing is mandated, these accusations will continue,” he added.
Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC Lee Bee Wah asked in a Parliamentary sitting on 25 March if the collapse in crude oil rates in recent months will reflect in the retail prices at petrol pumps. She also asked about the time lag in the price fall being passed to motorists.
Retail petrol prices in the country had declined with the sharp decline in crude oil prices, according to Tan Wu Meng, who is the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade & Industry and Foreign Affairs.
He pointed out that oil prices had plummeted from US$66 to US$34 per barrel between 2 January and 9 March.
More than three-quarters of the drop in the price of crude oil was passed towards customers, Dr Tan pointed out.
“The listed price of octane 95 petrol fell by 20 cents per litre, with a slight lag of six day. This represents a pass-through of over three-quarters of the decrease in crude oil price,” he added.
Crude oil also has to undergo refining and processing before being distributed to petrol pumps, Dr Tan explained.
He further remarked, “There will also be operating costs, taxes, duties and land costs on the one hand, as well as discounts and rebates on the other hand.”
Citing an in-depth study on retail petrol prices in 2017 by the then Competition Commission of Singapore, Dr Tan stated that a 70 per cent rate of pass-through is the usual rate.
Compared to the decrease when crude oil prices fall, petrol prices also take longer to increase when global crude oil prices increase, the survey highlighted.
The Straits Times has contacted oil companies for their comments.