Long queues stretch on for subsidized fuel

Slamet Susanto and Kusumasari Ayuningtyas

The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta/Klaten, Central Java | August 28 2014 | 10:12 AM
http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/08/28/long-queues-stretch-subsidized-fuel.html#sthash.PBB93rbY.dpuf

Long queues of vehicles were still evident at gas stations as of Wednesday, despite the fuel stock normalization policy that state-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina has implemented to deal with fuel scarcity nationwide.

In Yogyakarta, long queues of motorcycles and cars were seen at many gas stations in the region. Some stations had already run out of their stock of subsidized gasoline before noon and people were forced to buy non-subsidized fuel.

Wiyarto, a manager of a gas station in Pleret, Bantul, said that long queues of vehicles were unavoidable because the fuel supply at his station had been reduced from its previous 22,000 kiloliters (kl) per day to the current 16,000 kl.

Panic buying, he said, had made the gas station run out of the fuel that much faster.

“Those who normally bought 2 liters of fuel per purchase now buy 5 liters,” Wiyarto said.

The condition worsened for consumers as official retailers also disappeared from the market. Even if fuel was available from unofficial kiosks, its price had been drastically increased up to Rp 10,000 per liter for subsidized gasoline and Rp 15,000 for non-subsidized.

“I prefer to buy it from kiosk retailers if there are any, rather than queuing for hours,” said Waskita, who was nevertheless forced to queue at a gas station to buy fuel.

Setyono, another customer, said he preferred to see a price hike rather than face a fuel scarcity. “If the price has to be increased, just increase it. We can afford it. Fuel scarcity only causes misery to all of us,” he said.

Pertamina’s current efforts to solve the scarcity seemed fruitless.

“We are not [like the epic story of] Bandung Bondowoso who could build a temple overnight. We need two to three days to normalize the situation,” PT Pertamina Yogyakarta area manager Hendri Eko said after a coordination meeting with gas station owners held in Bantul, Yogyakarta, on Wednesday.

Hendri said it took time to normalize the situation because gas station owners also had to recalculate their real need for fuel so that subsidized fuel would not be misappropriated.

He also gave assurances that the supply of both subsidized gasoline and biodiesel fuel at the local depot was sufficient to last for the next nine days.

“We assure that there is no fuel scarcity in Yogyakarta province. There is no need for people to panic,” he said, adding that the supply reduction policy would be continued to maintain fuel availability until December 2014.

Separately in Geneng village, Palar subdistrict, Trucuk district, Klaten regency, Central Java, fuel scarcity did not seem to bother local farmers as they have been using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) instead of gasoline or diesel fuel in their water pumps for irrigation purposes.

Tasno Raharjo, one of the farmers, said that using LPG was more economical compared to using gasoline or diesel fuel.

Providing an example, he said that he only needed 2 to 3-kilogram canisters of LPG for eight to 12 hours of irrigation. This costs him a total of Rp 40,000, since a 3-kg canister of LPG costs Rp 20,000.

With gasoline, he said, he would need 8 to 12 liters of fuel to do the same job, as a liter of gasoline was only sufficient for an hour of irrigation. Retailers sold a liter of gasoline in his region, he said, for Rp 8,000.

He said he was inspired by a neighbor, Sutrisno Wardoyo, an agricultural engineer who used a factory-made LPG-fueled water pump, to change his gasoline-fueled pump into a LPG-fueled one.

With the help of Sutrisno and his brother Cahyono Wardoyo, who ran a water pump workshop, he could have his pump changed into a LPG-fueled one using a factory-made product as a model. Tasno said he spent only Rp 100,000 to do so. – See more at: http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/08/28/long-queues-stretch-subsidized-fuel.html#sthash.PBB93rbY.dpuf

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