The Pertalite Era is Slowly Ending?

News that has caused concern not only among expatriates but also primarily among local residents: The Indonesian government is considering a proposal from Pertamina to phase out Pertalite, the lowest-octane gasoline with a RON of 90, in the next few years. Currently, this is the most affordable fuel, making it accessible to the majority.
Photo: Tribunnews
Last year, Pertamina representatives announced plans to focus on developing gasoline with 7% ethanol content (E7) or Pertamax Green 92 as a replacement for Pertalite. Ethanol increases the octane rating of regular gasoline by 2-3 points and reduces harmful emissions from exhaust gases. Additionally, ethanol boosts engine performance, making this fuel more economical.
But does this mean that everyone living in Indonesia, and Bali in particular, will have to give up cheap fuel?
Currently, the price of Pertalite is regulated by the Indonesian government through subsidies. The quota for 2024 is 31.7 million kiloliters. So, redirecting these funds to Pertamax Green 92 could theoretically keep fuel prices at the same level. This is the view of Pertamina President Nicke Widyawati. He stated that subsidies for the environmentally friendly Pertamax Green 92 are more beneficial for the development of bioenergy and the reduction of emissions in the transport sector than directing subsidies to low-octane gasoline.
"But again, to avoid public debate, I want to explain that this is the result of our internal analysis and will be proposed to the government. But implementation, of course, is within the government's domain," he added.
The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, confirmed that the government is indeed considering providing subsidies for such types of fuel. "We expect to later subsidize people who truly deserve it," Luhut said at a meeting in Jakarta.
Luhut also confirmed that the government is refining the proposal from Pertamina regarding the blending of Pertalite with bioethanol. According to him, the sources of this ethanol could include raw materials such as sugarcane, corn, and even seaweed: "We are developing sugar production in Papua, with 2 million hectares allocated for this," he added.
The minister noted that the plan to blend bioethanol with gasoline is crucial in the government's efforts to reduce pollution levels in several major cities. "We want to obtain bioethanol because the pollution problem needs to be addressed quickly," he said.
The idea of blending fuel with bioethanol is not new for Pertamina. More gas stations in East Java are beginning to sell Pertamax Green 95. Over the past 10 months, the number of such stations has increased by 17. This fuel, mixed with sugarcane juice, was first introduced last year and is gradually spreading across Indonesia.
However, implementing Pertamax Green 92 instead of Pertalite has been more challenging. Pertalite is subsidized by the government, so any changes in its distribution need to be approved by officials.
Pertamina's Corporate Secretary, Patra Niaga Irto Ginting, reassured consumers: "So far, we continue to distribute Pertalite in all regions according to the government's directive. So, people have nothing to worry about."
If the government approves the project, Pertamina will only sell three types of fuel in the coming years: Pertamax 92, Pertamax 95 (8% ethanol blend), and Pertamax Turbo.
Sources: EkonomiKompasDetikOto.
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