To own a car in Singapore is an expensive hobby/need. But if you don’t practice petrol savings, it can become an even more expensive affair. For car owners, you would know that petrol makes up a big portion of your monthly expense.
Recently, the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) found that motorists are wasting as much as S$40 million each year. The main reason is the lack of a clear idea of the effective petrol prices across brands. Do you also find yourself spending way too much on your petrol?
To help you avoid overspending on petrol, here are three important tips you need to know.
1. Get the best petrol price and promotions
Think back to the time you shopped for your current car. Did you go to compare the prices across different dealers? Or did you simply settle for the first one you saw? For most of us, you would compare the prices and make sure that you get that best deal. But when we look at petrol, we do not see people doing the same due diligence in comparing prices. Instead, people just turn into the nearest petrol kiosk when they find their petrol tank near empty. This is one reason why you might be overspending on your petrol expense.
To get the best petrol prices, you need to be aware of the best petrol price and promotions that are available. One way is to join ‘Petrol Watch Singapore’, which is a Facebook community that shares news about the latest petrol prices and promotions.
While most petrol prices are the same, SPC’s 98-Octane stands out as the cheapest among the four petrol players. By saving S$0.04-S$0.06 per litre, you can easily save S$16-S$24 per month for 400 litres of fuel consumption. This can get you a decent Zi Char meal at the coffee shop.
Apart from that, promotions shared on the group are also worth mentioning. Take the 20% fuel discount at Caltex for example. This can save you at least S$20 per full tank pump on a 50L petrol tank.
If you are more old school and prefer to do your own research, you can grab the latest petrol price from official websites. Esso, Shell, SPC and Caltex updates their pump price regularly on their official website.
2. Stack up your discounts and rebates with the right cards
Just getting the right petrol price and right promotions aren’t enough if you want to be the ultimate saver. You need to supplement your savings with the right cards that offer the right discounts and rebates. To illustrate how much saving you can get with the right cards, let’s use the OCBC Plus! Visa credit card and BOC Zaobao credit card as examples.
OCBC Plus! Visa Credit Card
OCBC Plus! Visa Credit Card offers a whopping 18.3% discount with the additional benefit of earning more Smiles points at Esso. By spending a minimum of S$300 on the card, you will be able to qualify for the cash rebate. But for those of you who want to earn the additional Smiles points, you will need to pump at least 250L of petrol.
OCBC Plus! Visa credit card total discount for Esso: 18.3%
- Esso Smiles Card Discount (5%) + Esso Station Site Discount (5%) + OCBC Plus! Credit Card Discount (4%) + OCBC Cash Rebate (4.3%) = 18.3%
- If you pump 50L of 98-octane, you will save S$22.88.
Note: For those of you who already have the OCBC 365 card, the petrol savings amount is the same (18.3%). The only difference is the smaller quantum of minimum spending on the OCBC Plus! Visa card.
BOC Zaobao Credit Card
Bank of China’s Zaobao credit card is the preferred choice if you are a Shell or SPC consumer. One caveat is that you need to spend a minimum of S$600 in the month. Another caveat is that the cash rebate is capped at S$80 per month. But if you consistently use this card to pay for your petrol expenses, it is not difficult to hit the minimum spending.
BOC Zaobao credit card total discount for Shell: 30.7%
- Shell site discount (5%) + Shell Escape Card discount (5%) + BOC cash rebate (23% of amount after Shell discounts) = 30.7%
- If you pump 50L of 98-octane, you will save S$38.38.
BOC Zaobao credit card total discount for SPC: 30.7%
- SPC&U discount (10%) + BOC cash rebate (23% of amount after SPC discount) = 30.7%
- If you pump 50L of 98-octane, you will save S$37.76.
3. Justify your choice of petrol
Whenever you pump petrol, what is your preferred choice? Which grade of petrol do you pump? Is it the highest grade? You might be surprised that high-grade petrol has no obvious impact on fuel consumption.
According to CCS, motorists are spending unnecessarily on a higher grade of petrol than what your vehicles need. You do not save more if you pump higher grade petrol, according to researchers. Researchers found that fuel consumption doesn’t decrease with a higher grade of petrol. Fuel consumption is mainly determined by your car’s engine and your driving habits.
So, what is the advantage of pumping higher grade petrol? Researchers believe that higher grade petrol may reduce the poisonous emissions on your car’s engine. While it doesn’t reduce your car’s fuel consumption, high-grade petrol increases the lifespan of your car’s engine.
As a car owner, you need to justify your choice of petrol and the cost that is associated with it. If you find that the overall cost of replacing your car’s engine is higher than the cost of higher grade petrol, so be it. Then stick to the higher-grade petrol. But if not, then why spend that additional money for higher grade petrol when it doesn’t bring tangible benefits?
Getting the most bang for your buck
Now that you know these petrol saving tips, what are you still waiting for? Get those saving rebates and give yourself more cash to spend on other necessary expenses now!
Read next: 52 Ways to Save Money in Singapore