Motoring in Thailand
The following fuel types and designations are available in Thailand:
- Benzene 95 (yellow)
- Benzene 91 (red)
- Gasohol 95 (orange)
- Gasohol 91 (green)
Gasohol is widely available in Thailand. It is a mixture of 90 percent Gasoline and 10 percent Ethanol in and is also known as E10. It's use is gaining momentum around the world, with Thailand being one of the major users, the government aggressively promoting it's use and benefits. Even so, it can sometimes be hard to find outside the major cities, Gasohol 91 in particular.
Some people claim there is a loss in performance when using this fuel type, whereas others claim the performance is improved. We have tried both fuel types in our three year old vehicle and haven't noticed any difference in performance whatsoever.
That said, only the newest cars in Thailand are guaranteed to run well on an E10 mix long term. Older cars are often reported having major breakdowns, or suffering fuel system problems, due to the incompatibility of engine parts. More seriously, motorcyclists should check very carefully with their bike manufacturer or dealer about compatibility with such fuels before using it them and if you're not sure, stick with Benzene.
The advantages of Gasohol are as follows...
- It's cheaper than regular Gasoline
- It's better for the environment
- Less unwanted deposits inside your engine
- Ethanol prevents fuel from freezing... although this quality is obviously of little benefit in tropical Thailand
Nearly all cars manufactured since 1995 can run on E10 Gasohol without any modifications. With production of this type of fuel increasing in Thailand, you can expect to see it's availability increase accordingly, with more and more incentives to make the switch coming from the government, vehicle manufacturers and fuel outlets. See also: Gasohol vs Benzene on the forum.
Unlike European countries, where the driver is insured, the actual vehicle is insured in Thailand, meaning it will be covered for any driver. However, it is possible to name drivers to reduce the premium. First, the basics...
Compulsory 'Government Insurance' (CPTL) is mandatory for everyone. This basic CPTL insurance covers the medical costs of road accident victims and does not cover any kind of vehicle damage. Failure to have this cover will result in very heavy fines. It is also required to pay the tax for your vehicle. As of March 2009, CPTL insurance is not required if you have class 1 voluntary insurance (see below).
You are strongly advised to purchase voluntary cover, which comes in four basic flavours...
- Class 1 - This will cover you for any eventuality, no matter who is at fault
- Class 2 - Pays out to the third party if you are at fault, or if your vehicle is lost through theft or fire
- Class 3 - Third party only cover
- Class 3+ - Third party cover, with a limited payout for your own vehicle
Standards of driving are very poor in Thailand. Driving licences are often issued when the driver has very little in the way of driver training. Road sense/common sense behind the wheel is a rarity. Add to this, the fact that few people have voluntary insurance and you will soon begin to realise how prudent it is to have your own full cover. There is a reason all those pickup trucks have large chrome bumbers front and rear... they're probably not covered. See also: The Reality of Road Accidents in Thailand
There are plenty of insurers to choose from. Shop around but remember that you generally get what you pay for. As a minimum, you should be looking at a 24 hour English speaking accident hotline, and solid medical cover (as well as property loss). Some companies may even consider your no claims evidence from your home country.
If you purchase a car on finance, the lender will invariably require you to have class 1 insurance, which they will most likely arrange.
For recommendations, consider using our Thailand forum...
See Also:- Driving License