Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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Posts Tagged ‘NGV’

How did I fare in my 2008 goals?

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

Though I have written quite a bit about my 2008 goals in this blog, I have not really listed all of them. I suppose like many of us, I am a little shy about revealing all. Anyway, now that 2008 is drawing to a close, it’s time to write about how I fared. 

First, the biggest failure of them all……though maybe all has not been lost 

This refers to my most audacious goal for 2008. It was to bring this blog to a readership level of …mumble, mumble …readers a day.  I have failed and failed spectacularly in this goal. I wonder what I must have been smoking when I wrote this post way back on the 31 December 2007. 

On the other hand, this blog has done wonders in improving my communication with my elder two girls. I write about whatever I want to pass on to my girls and they read it in their own time, when their minds are a lot more receptive. (The younger ones have no interest in the blog unless maybe if the article is something specific about them). 

At least I think I have now found my rhythm for maintaining this blog. The blog’s value in promoting communications with my elder girls makes it something I’ll continue for quite a long while. 

The lesser goals…..

Not too bad, three out of four. I am still not good with Photoshop, though I have played around with the program a couple of times.  

The children’s financial education 

I have also written about educating my children on the two most important pf lessons that I had learnt in my life. One was for my two elder girls to have a peer group with an interest in personal finance. I don’t think I have succeeded in this very much. Though they do read some of the fine pf blogs that I pass on to them, I don’t think the idea has gained the kind of traction I would like yet. 

The second was for them to “pay themselves first”. This is progressing quite well. The elder girls have to save a portion of their income upfront, and the younger ones have to do the same with their allowances. In addition, the younger three have kept their bargain of maintaining an accounting for their expenses.  

Helping my elder children secure jobs they would like I wrote a series of posts on this. I am pleased that this goal was substantially achieved. My eldest girl, however, left the job after a couple of weeks and she is now intending to do her Masters in Psychology. In the meantime she is working as an apprentice with a Counsellor and is also teaching an autistic boy.

Other goals – not specifically declared in this blog   

On health matters, I had privately written down wanting to start a regime of exercising that I should adopt. The results have been very poor. It has been more on/off, on/off.  I had also wanted to learn and practice Chiqong. This has not been done either. 

Financially, we did manage to meet the biggest goal, i.e. to sell our rental house and pay down some of our loans.  The goat farm was launched during the year as planned. I had also wanted to convert the family car to NGV. I did not do so more as a result of procrastination than anything else. Now with the fuel prices down again, it does not look all that attractive a ROI anymore.

Career wise, I had written in my goals list that I would on the 30th of June 08 talk to my boss on flexible hours so that I could spend more time with the family. It did not quite work out that way. I resigned with mutual agreement on the 18 June 08 and now have all the time I need to spend on the family.  

Well, 2008 has not exactly been a roaring success. Still it has been a very significant year in my life to date. My mother passed away during the year. And for the 1st time, I am no longer a rat, running the never ending treadmill we call the rat race. In return I have had quite a number of anxious moments on how I would continue putting food on the table and keeping a roof over our heads.  

I am reviewing (yet again) my thoughts on mind mapping my way to retirement that I wrote about in a 2 parter in May 2008.  For the time being I am following my own advice and God Willing, 2009 should prove better.

I have made my goals for 2009 and will write about some of them soon. 

PS: As I wrote this post my thoughts went back to all the earlier years when I reviewed my enthusiastically made and left unmet goals. I am even more convinced that starting this blog has made a major, major difference in my life, and is helping me in no uncertain way to turbocharge my transformation. I feel a lot more accountable now and God Willing, this will spur me more in 2009.  

Converting my car to a NGV – My Experience

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

In view of the recent steep increase in fuel prices in Malaysia, my friend, KC Lau who blogs about personal finance suggested that I write about my experience in converting my car to a NGV. Thanks, KC for this idea.

I don’t remember when the option to fit cars with NGV kits was made available to Malaysians. (Harry says it was 23 years ago.) 

Predictably and completely befitting the name “Government”, the follow up was, shall we say, sad. Reading Harry’s blog should give us an idea of how sad! 

- There are only 40,000 users after 23 years of implementation.  

- The number of NGV filling stations (58 stations) is still very low causing  long queues at almost all of Petronas Petrol stations with one or two dispensers installed.  

And Malaysia is a huge producer of natural gas! 

So with petrol prices being relatively low and NGV availability very poor, very few Malaysians bothered to convert.

(You can see the history of petrol prices in Malaysia extracted from Najib’s Blog. (RM3.80 = USD1)) 

01/05/2004 - RM 1.37

01/10/2004 - RM 1.42

05/05/2005 - RM 1.52

31/07/2005 - RM 1.62

28/02/2006 - RM 1.92

04/06/2008 – RM2.70

The price increase in February 2006 made me start feeling the pinch. I drive an average of about 130 – 150 kms per working day and the fuel bill was getting a bit painful. I researched some websites on NGV and then took the plunge in August 2007. 

I got the car fitted in a workshop near my home and that cost me a total of RM 6,025. This included a “fee” of RM 125 because I used a credit card and another RM 700 when I changed the tank to a larger one.  

My distance travelled from January 06 (when we purchased the car) to August 2007 and fuel costs were 48,752 kms for RM 9,194.49 or RM 0.189 per km.  

Since then I have travelled a total of 40,907 kms (as at end of May 08), and paid RM3,332.97 in fuel costs or RM0.0815 per km. 

A savings of a whopping 56.8%.  (We keep detailed car logs, so these figures are easily available.) 

And these savings are before the recent 41% price hike and a relative high use of normal fuel. The savings will really start kicking in after I factor in this huge increase.  

Besides the obvious cost savings the other issues are:- 

a)    The full NGV tank can only be used for about 150 kms, thus needing frequent refilling. In my case it is daily. For me this is the biggest negative.  

b)    The filling up of the tank is dependent on the pressure at the dispenser being used. So there is some inconsistency. A full tank today may not give the same distance as the full tank of yesterday. Still the differences are not that great. 

c)     There are insufficient NGV stations around. Another big negative. So quite often I have to use normal petrol after the gas runs out. The National Oil Company, Petronas has announced that they’ll be adding in another 100 stations. Whilst this is good news, I’ll feel better once the stations are up. 

d)    I keep a print out of the NGV stations in the country. Then if by chance, I am near one, I try to fill up. Now a number of the stations have been etched in my memory.

e)    Sometimes, there seems to be some delay in the NG reaching the carburettor. Hence the car sort of jerks or doesn’t move. This only happens when we are starting the car. A little irritating at times, but not really a big negative.  

f)      There is less power when we use NGV. This is hardly a problem, since we can seamlessly switch on to petrol if we need a burst of speed for overtaking or something like that. 

g)    The NGV tank takes up part of the boot space. This problem is worse for the MPV’s and the smaller cars. I drive a Toyota Camry and so far I have had no problem with the reduced boot space.  

h)    NGV is acknowledged to be better for the environment as well as for the car. However, I have not noticed any clear savings on the servicing costs.  

I think NGV is the way to go. It is clear that Malaysians are moving by the droves to convert. Good for them!  

With increasing consumer awareness and pressure, I am sure more  NGV dispensing stations will start sprouting up. Then Malaysian motorists would be back to the days of “cheap fuel.”   

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