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Prices are scary but on Phuket, the smiles keep coming

Patong Police Go Electric as Gas Prices Bite

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
LARGE-SCALE social changes are occurring on Phuket, with police in Kathu even turning to electric motorbikes as the cost of gas bites hard at budgets.

''We only have so much to spend and it doesn't take account of higher costs,'' said the chief of Kathu police, Police Colonel Grissak Songmoonnark.

His officers oversee Patong, the island's largest tourist town, and reputedly the one with the most crime.

The seven battery-charged electric motorcycles, a gift from generous local businesspeople, are being used to patrol Kathu day and night.

Colonel Grissak would like a few more. Meanwhile, the expensive to run vehicles are being left at the station.

Similar changes are happening in private life as everybody is forced to cope with gas prices that have risen to 36.59 a litre for octane 91 petrol at stations and 37.39 for the octane 95 variety.

Diesel at 42.09 is even more expensive, with a version known as B5plus finding sudden popularity because it is a little less costly.

In all aspects of life on Phuket, fuel prices are causing remarkable changes, especially in society and business.

Security guards at Central Festival report that numbers of vehicles in the carpark have fallen away dramatically as people either don't go shopping as much or join friends in one car instead of travelling alone.

Families who own motorcycles and have acquired a small car or a pickup as they grow more wealthy are now moving back to the motorcycles out of necessity, even on wet days.

Relationships are being shaken, companies are being stirred. Love is being thwarted, too.

Phuketwan has been told by the amorous driver of one four-door pickup that he is now looking for a motorcycle to deliver better value than his Honda Click.

He usually dates women four days a week, taking them to restaurants. For now, his love life is in ruins because he cannot afford to go out more than once a week.

And the date may not be impressed because these days he takes his female friends to simpler, less costly restaurants.

A man with eight trucks in a transport business told Phuketwan he was cutting back to just three trucks. And he would sell those, too, if he could. Petrol is simply too expensive for him to make the business profitable.

One student who has to drive from Kuraburi in Phang Nga to study in Phuket each weekend usually makes the trip in his pickup at a cost of about 800 baht per visit.

This year, the cost has jumped to 1200 baht. He is still using the pickup but is hunting for a more economical Honda Jazz.

He may also look at sharing with other students and could have to make alternative arrangements for temporary accommodation on Phuket each weekend.

How has the rising cost of fuel changed your life? Tell us now by comenting here. It's free, and easy!

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Wednesday January 19, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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