Motorcycle taxis in line for fuel discount
Gasohol 95 subsidy coming by December
Motorcycle taxis nationwide will receive a discount on gasohol 95 of three baht per litre by December in a bid to manage the effects of higher global oil prices, says Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.
The discount price will be administered through the state-owned oil and gas conglomerate, PTT Plc, whose petrol stations will take part in the programme.
Funding sources could include PTT, the State Oil Fund and the welfare smartcard scheme.
Registered motorcycle taxis nationwide number 200,000, with half of those in Bangkok.
The period of time for discounted fuel for motorcycle taxis will be studied by relevant firms and state agencies.
Other fuel traders are welcome to enter the programme voluntarily. Gasohol 95 for motorcycle taxis was selected because energy policymakers have set a goal to phase out gasohol 91 by 2019.
"The higher oil prices are expected to affect grassroots people, so PTT and policymakers are being told to maintain the lower price of compressed natural gas (CNG) for public transport and cooking gas for street food businesses," Mr Somkid said.
The subsidy for CNG is made through PTT at 10.50 baht per kilogramme, lower than the general retail price of 14.06 baht.
PTT has allocated 2.5 billion baht a year to subsidise CNG for public transport, including vans, taxi and buses. It has maintained the subsidy for five straight years.
Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan said the Energy Policy Administration Committee (EPAC) will maintain the diesel ceiling price at 30 baht per litre and the cooking gas price at 363 baht per 15kg cylinder through the state Oil Fund until March 2019, extended from December 2018.
The programme is meant to curb living costs.
Mr Siri said cash in the state Oil Fund stands at 24.6 billion baht, which should be sufficient for the extended time frame.
"If global oil prices go below US$90 per barrel, the cash is enough to last until March," he said. "If prices move above $90 per barrel, we have to consider cutting the excise tax for diesel.
"The fund can subsidise roughly 1.50 baht of diesel per litre, but once it is required to cut the tax, we will have to discuss the matter with the Finance Ministry."
For the grassroots scheme, Mr Somkid said the government is supporting the programme for farmers to sell their products directly to end-users through PTT's petrol station network under the Pracha Rat project.
PTT is offering a new platform for farm products to be sold on the shelves of its petrol stations, with almost 1,600 locations deemed large enough to accommodate the project.
Mr Somkid said the government will join state-owned banks in the programme to establish new marketplaces and a new trading system.
Auttapol Rerkpiboon, PTT's chief operating officer, said the new platform in petrol stations will not exceed current retail capability.