It is no secret that petrol prices in Malaysia is about one third that in Singapore. At present, the price of RON97 is RM 2.05 per litre, whereas it costs S$2.05 (before applying discount) per litre for RON95 in Singapore. Topping up your tank before returning to Singapore from Malaysia means huge savings, especially for cars with bigger tanks. Some even perform the rather unsightly maneuver of rocking their car in an attempt to get that little bit more petrol into the tank.
Cars returning to Singapore after travelling on the North-South Highway will have to decide where to pump petrol, and it’s best to plan ahead exactly where. One might say this is an easy decision – just choose the station nearest to the immigration checkpoint. Under optimal conditions, when there is no queue at the checkpoint, this is a sensible choice. However, when there queue, pumping at a petrol station near the checkpoint may cost you more time to clear the immigration, since your queue will virtually start at the petrol station. It is demoralizing, i can tell you.
Let me go straight to the point and show you the three options you have in choosing the petrol station:
1. Petrol station near checkpoint
For the second link, obviously the Shell station just before the Tanjung Kupang CIQ is the one, and probably 90% of the cars returning to Singapore will pump petrol here.
For the causeway, assuming one approaches the CIQ from EDL (this is the most direct route into Singapore from the North-South Highway), then the Shell or Petronas petrol stations near the CIQ are nearest. Instead of going into the CIQ from EDL, one will have to keep left and go towards Pusat Bandar (city centre), then turn right at the traffic junction. After pumping petrol, the way back to the CIQ is by making a U turn under the flyover, or, if you pump at Petronas, you can exit the station from the other side (opposite where you entered) and turn left. Travel some 200m and there’s a link way on the left that leads you onto a flyover that goes straight into the CIQ (try to keep this not-so-well-known secret passageway to yourself ok?).
2. Petrol station along North-South Highway
Another option to settle the hassle of pumping petrol quick and easy is to do so along the North-South Highway itself. Unfortunately, and perhaps by design, the petrol station nearest to Singapore is the one at Machap R&R. This is 86km from the CIQ, and 83km from Tanjung Kupang CIQ. Assuming your car does 15km per litre of petrol, it means you lose out on more than 5 litres of cheap petrol. Nevertheless, if you’re in a hurry, this is the best choice.
3. Petrol stations near immigration checkpoint involving short detour from the Highway
This is the compromise between options 1 & 2. When you choose this option, you avoid the queue at the busy petrol stations near the immigration checkpoint, while losing out on a negligible amount of petrol instead of more than 5 litres. The detour should cost you less than 10 minutes of additional travel time.
For the second link, the detour would be to go into Gelang Patah, where there is a Petronas station as well as a Shell station.
For the causeway, the detour is to exit onto Lebuhraya Pasir Gudang (exit 256), and return via Jalan Pandan. The detour takes only 7 minutes according to Google Maps, and there are 3 petrol stations along the way – Caltex, Petron and Shell.
You probably already know that to pump petrol in Malaysia now, you have to key in a PIN into the terminal. Since credit cards issued in Singapore do not use the PIN, you will not be able to swipe and pump. You’ll have to hand your credit card to the counter staff to perform an authorization before you can pump.
I found out though, if the terminal can read a contactless card (e.g. pay wave), you can swipe and pump like before! This is a lot more convenient than approaching the counter staff. I was able to do this at a Caltex station.