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Pertamina to introduce 90 RON gasoline

Indonesia’s state-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina will launch Pertalite-branded gasoline, which will have a research octane number (RON) of 90. Eventually, Pertalite will replace premium gasoline, which has a RON of 88. A higher research octane number (RON) generally means better fuel quality, all things being equal. Pertamina also currently markets Pertamax, with a 92 RON.

Pertamina Marketing Director Ahmad Bambang said that the company would start selling the new product as early as next month in several major cities in Java, such as Jakarta, Surabaya and Semarang.

“Thus, [in those areas] premium will only be available at gas stations frequented by public transportation and at gas stations located in suburban areas,” Ahmad said.

The government has eliminated its subsidy for premium gasoline in January to help plug its budget deficit. The government last year spent around IDR 240 trillion (USD 18 billion) on fuel subsidies, with gasoline representing the biggest volume at around 46 million kiloliters. Following the energy subsidy overhaul, the state budget has cut its fuel subsidy to IDR 60 trillion (USD 4 billion).

Eliminating RON 88 is not immediately viable because most of the country’s refineries are only able to produce gasoline with that octane grade. This month, Pertamina also imported 9.1 million barrels of 88 RON gasoline, as well as 1.4 million barrels of high-octane motor gasoline component 92 RON gasoline and 500,000 barrels of finished grade 92 RON gasoline.

The chairman of the Association of Fuel Station Owners (Hiswana Migas), Eri Purnomo Hadi, said that Pertamina has already approached station owners about its plan to introduce this new higher-octane gasoline.