The reduction in the pricing of RON 97 petrol has seen an increase in demand for it, which has resulted in supplies running low – primarily in the Klang Valley and the east coast – over the past week, in some cases to the point of petrol stations running out of stock, according to news reports. It’s the first time a shortage of RON 97 fuel has been reported in the country.

The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK) had been made aware of the situation last week, the Petroleum Dealers Association of Malaysia (PDAM) said. The association added that at this point, stocks were on their way to returning to normal levels with all fuel providers, with only Shell reportedly facing a shortage of RON 97.

Shell Malaysia Trading confirmed that a number of its retail stations in the peninsular was experiencing a shortage of V-Power 97 due to an increase in demand, but said in a statement issued yesterday that it was making every effort to restore supply to the affected sites.

On November 19, the price of RON 97 petrol was reduced by 20 sen to RM2.55 per litre, and dropped a further nine sen yesterday (December 1) to RM2.46 per litre.

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RON 97 was priced as high as RM2.90 per litre in March this year.

The RM2.46 per litre price for RON 97 significantly narrows the price difference between it and RON 95, which is now set at RM2.26 per litre, which would account for motorists opting for it over the lower octane number fuel. In September, the difference was 55 sen per litre (RM2.75 for RON 97, RM 2.10 for RON 95).

The December 1 price revision for both RON 95 and RON 97 follows the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK) ministry’s announcement about two weeks ago that there would be no more subsidies for RON 95 petrol and diesel from December 1, and that their prices would, like RON 97 petrol, be derived based on a managed float system.

Globally, the price of crude oil – which now directly affects RON 95 petrol and diesel prices in Malaysia – is currently at its lowest point since August 2010, hovering around US$70 (RM237) a barrel.