Roadside Retailers in Dismay as Fuel Supplies Return to Normal

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Kediri’s fuel supplies are back to normal, much to the dismay of roadside retailers.

    During the shortages, retailers in Kediri had managed to reap benefits from the situation by selling fuels that they had previously stockpiled to desperate customers, who were willing to pay up to Rp 10,000 per bottle of fuel.

    Now that snaking queues are absent at gas stations around town, the retailers are upset because their moneymakers are not bringing in as much profit as before. Locals, however, can breathe with a sigh of relief.

    “There weren’t any queues at this gas station today,” said Frida Zahnia, a motorist who came to refuel with Premium (a brand of subsidized fuel marketed by state oil and gas company Pertamina) at a public gas station on Jl. Joyoboyo, on Wednesday, September 3, 2014. 

    Similarly, no queues were observed at other gas stations within Kediri’s town limits, despite the fact that long queues were evident on Tuesday. This means that motorists can refuel at public gas stations without having to pay the exorbitant prices set by profiteering retailers. 

    These retailers have been forced to lower their prices from Rp10,000 to Rp8,000 per bottle in order to attract customers. Some have had to lower their prices down to Rp7,000 per bottle in a bid to attract customers, but customers are choosing to purchase their fuel at gas stations instead, where a liter of Premium costs Rp 6,500. 

    When fuel is scarce, retailers reap extraordinary amount of profits by selling a bottle of fuel for Rp 10,000. Customers would come in droves despite knowing that a bottle contains less than a liter of Premium as they have no other option but to pay up in order to keep their vehicles going. 

    As supplies return to normal, these retailers have no other option but to reduce their prices.

    However, the news is not all bad as customers welcome the price cuts—especially motorcyclists who live far away from gas stations. Ever reliant on these roadside distributors for fuel, the price reductions mean that they can afford to fill up without having to reach too deep into their pockets. 

    HARI TRI WASONO