SINGAPORE: Owners of Singapore-registered diesel-powered vehicles do not have major concerns about the need to have at least three-quarters of a tank of fuel when leaving Singapore via the land checkpoints.
This minimum requirement, commonly referred to as the "three-quarter tank rule", takes effect from Apr 1 for diesel-powered vehicles. It currently only applies to Singapore vehicles running on petrol and compressed natural gas.
"This is in line with the introduction of a usage-based diesel duty announced in Budget 2017 to reduce diesel consumption and resultant air pollution,” Singapore Customs said in a news release on Wednesday (Jan 2).
Real estate agent Hani Lim, who crosses the Causeway to Malaysia once in two months on average, told Channel NewsAsia that the cost difference in topping up a full diesel tank in Singapore compared to Malaysia is not substantial.
As of December 2018, a litre of Euro5 diesel in Malaysia costs about RM2.28 (S$0.75), roughly S$0.90 less than the price of a litre in Singapore.
"I don’t go to JB (Johor Bahru) just for the sake of filling the tank with diesel," said Mdm Lim, who switched from driving a petrol car to her current Kia Carens six months ago.
"I will pump diesel if I go there, but I won’t purposely empty my tank just to get in there to pump.
"The rule is not going to stop me from going JB. I go there for many other reasons," she added. "The only reason that will hinder me is if the Malaysian ringgit appreciates."
Other drivers of diesel-powered vehicles also said that the time spent travelling to and from Malaysia may not justify the savings from filling their tanks there, especially if they have corporate cards and discounts at petrol stations in Singapore.
"We stay in the east so there's no point in travelling all the way to Malaysia," said Mr Loh Teng Rui, whose family owns a BMW Series 1 car. "The amount of time being stuck in customs may not be worth the cost savings."
For Mdm Lim, pumping in Malaysia will save her no more than S$30 dollars for a full tank, considering her membership discount at a Singapore petrol station.
Corporate entities will not be greatly affected by the new rule either, according to a spokesman for the Singapore Transport Association, whose members consist of logistics and transport companies.
Most of these companies own diesel-powered vehicles which are Malaysia-registered and travel from Malaysia to Singapore, rather than the other way around, he said.
Members also often have their own supply of tanks and diesel, which means they will not necessarily need to rely on pumping diesel at petrol stations across the Causeway, the spokesman added.
"It will not affect our members so much because the pool of vehicles (which fall under such a criteria) is small," he said. "As with any change, there might be a pinch to begin with, but after a while everybody will get used to it."
Drivers who do not meet the three-quarter tank requirement may be fined up to S$500 or prosecuted in court. They may also be required to perform a U-turn at the land checkpoints.