Has Pertalite become less efficient since price hike? Not according to Pertamina

A Pertamina gas station. Photo: Pertamina
A Pertamina gas station. Photo: Pertamina

The country’s most popular commercial fuel variant Pertalite is once again a hot topic of discussion amid suspicions of a drop in quality since the price hike earlier this month.

The per liter price for the 90 octane-rated fuel was raised to IDR10,000 (US$0.65) from IDR7,650 (US$0.50) on Sept. 3

While Indonesians now have to pay more for the fuel, some have complained in recent weeks about a supposed decline in their vehicles’ mileage per gallon. Photos have been posted comparing pre-price hike Pertalite with recent Pertalite in clear containers, with the former apparently a darker green than the latter.

Pertamina has maintained that it has not tampered with Pertalite’s composition, and that any allegations of a drop in quality must be backed by a lab examination.

Yesterday, Pertamina’s executive general manager for West Java, Waljiyanto, doubled down on the denial and said that customers’ perceptions of a drop in mileage while using the fuel was likely the result of psychological factors.

“That’s their perception. Quality-wise, it’s still the same,” he said.

“Before the price hike, people bought [Pertalite] by the liter and did not feel the [financial] pinch. Now they’re filling up by the cash amount; IDR20,000, IDR50,000. This is a psychological effect.”

The government raised prices for Pertalite and other commercial fuels to counteract what it said was ballooning energy subsidies amid a global energy crisis.

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