This article is contributed by Motorist.sg.
With the borders scheduled to reopen to traffic very shortly, there’s online chatter amongst the motoring community about the prospect of hopping across the Causeway to top up their tanks.
The voices have gotten ever louder, considering petrol prices have, for the most part, been climbing steadily in recent weeks. Car ownership is also set to not get any more affordable, with COE prices also rising fairly significantly. Penny-pinching motorists have therefore entertained the thought of refuelling their cars in neighbouring Johor. But can you realistically save any cost by doing so? If so, how much?
For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that all laws are followed. Under the Customs Act 1960, Singapore-registered vehicles are required to have a minimum of at least three-quarters of the tank when leaving Singapore via the land checkpoints. Also, let’s assume you own an economy car with a fuel tank capacity of 55 litres, and an average consumption on the move of 15.6km/l, and an idling per hour consumption of 2.3l/hour.
With that in mind, a complete fill-up in Singapore with petrol prices at the current rate would cost you $125 for the lowest priced RON95 fuel, after credit card discounts.
Pumping Across The Causeway
Following government guidelines, you’re expected to pump a minimum of 45 litres of petrol in your tank for your expedition across the border. Inclusive of the time you’d spend idling at the causeway and to cover the distance driven, you’re looking at a petrol cost of $103 for the same grade of fuel mentioned above.
The 7.8km journey from the causeway to the nearest petrol station in JB will consume about two litres of petrol, meaning that you’ll reach the pumps in JB with 43 left litres in your tank. This, in turn, means that you can refuel 12 litres of petrol.
“There are legal repercussions for flouting the ¾ rule imposed by our government. With borders having been shut for so long, you can only realistically expect officials to be extra meticulous about conducting randomised checks.”
Do also note that Singaporean-registered cars are not allowed to pump the subsidised RON95 petrol across the Causeway. You are only allowed to use RON97. At RM3.83 based on current pricing, you’re looking at $14.75.
|Full Tank Refuel Costs|
|In Singapore (RON 95)||In Malaysia (RON 97)|
|Following 3/4 Rule||–||$118|
All in all, your full tank of petrol will set you back around $118. And that’s excluding the petrol you’ll need to make the commute back to Singapore.
So How Much Fuel Must You Pump To Actually Enjoy Significant Savings?
A full tank of a generally accepted grade of fuel (RON 95) will set you back $125 in our scenario. The same car, with a tank of Malaysia’s finest RON97, will cost you $68 based on current conversion rates. Considering you’ll need at least six litres of petrol to hop across the causeway with some fuel in reserve, you can fill up your entire tank for only $61. Couple that with the $13 or so dollar of Singapore fuel, and you’re looking at a full tank for $74, or about a realistic savings of $51.
What’s The Catch?
There are legal repercussions for flouting the ¾ rule imposed by our government. With borders having been shut for so long, you can only realistically expect officials to be extra meticulous about conducting randomised checks. After all, they are probably very aware of the layman’s desire to hop over the Causeway for a cheeky splash to save some cash.
As a quick refresher, you are liable to a fine of up to $500 for flouting the rules. You may also be denied the right to leave the country in a vehicle that does not comply with the regulations. And don’t think you can get away with altering your fuel gauge to skirt around the requirements. Officials do dip fuel tanks to verify fuel levels are accurate. Alteration of your gauges may result in you being issued a fine of up to $5,000, and you may also be charged in court for the offence.
Ultimately, the decision is yours to make. If you decide it is a calculated risk worth taking, you can proceed to flout the rules. But do note that the penalties are intentionally stiff to dissuade users from committing the offences in the first place!
If you need a car but are not willing to spend so much on one, you can consider getting a used car instead. Motorist is an automotive platform that allows you to buy used cars in Singapore. Alternatively, if you already have car that serves you well, why not consider renewing your COE instead?
Whether it’s to buy a used car, renew your COE, or to rent a car, Motorist can help you search and make better car-related decisions in Singapore. You can download the Motorist app on the App Store or Google Play.