TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The restriction on the distribution and sales of subsidized fuel in Padang, West Sumatra, has caused the price of fuel to soar. Some distributors are selling Premium - a brand of subsidized fuel marketed by state oil and gas company Pertamina - with prices as high as Rp20,000 per liter.
In the past two days, prices have begun to climb from Rp7,500 to Rp8,000 per liter as fuel supply outstrips supply. Prior to the restrictions, the subsidized Premium are sold at Rp6,500 per liter.
Some public gas stations in Padang have completely run out of Premium and Solar (Pertamina's brand of subsidized diesel fuel) reserves, sparking massive queues of motorcycle riders hoping at gas stations that are still operating. However, supplies are dwindling and scheduled deliveries have yet to be received by many stations - affecting gas stations in Ranah, Sawahan and in Pisang district.
Supplies are also short among unauthorized distributors of fuel, and those with some reserves are selling at sky-high prices that range of Rp8,000 to Rp20,000 per liter.
Odang, 55, had to to buy Premium from unauthorised roadside distributors since many public gas station in his area were closed since the restrictions took effect. "I have to go to work, but I ran out of petrol, so I had no choice but to pay a roadside vendor Rp20,000 per liter because the gas stations that are open are jammed with queuing vehicles," Odang said earlier today.
Marini, another motorcycle rider, also complained about having to pay Rp15,000 for a liter of Premium. "Fuel is getting really hard to find, but I have to go to work. So what choice do I have but to pay that amount?," she said.
ANDRI EL FARUQI