New Oil Crisis Strikes UAE

Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Photo: Mansion Global

Well, it has been described more as inconvenient, a worry, an “ordeal” …this latest oil-industry concern to strike the Gulf nations involves the sale of petroleum to Emirati consumers.

In this part of the world, you can see locals parked outside coffee shops and small businesses, blaring their horn until someone rushes outside to offer service. There are drive-by ATMs.

Drive-by ATM, Fujairah, UAE.
Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

But now the unthinkable is happening.

Little by little, residents and citizens of the United Arab Emirates are being given the option to pump their own petrol… and many just aren’t having it, regardless that it isn’t mandatory and the overwhelming number of gas stations don’t provide that service, yet.

A new sight… an Emirati steps out of his vehicle to buy petrol.
Photo: Gulf News

Some concerns raised by locals:

…that it will be too confusing and difficult to learn such menial manual labour, like opening the fuel cap, engaging the fuel nozzle and pressing the lever which dispenses the fuel (one recent article provided a helpful 7-step(!) instruction guide on this very process).

…that the collective incompetence will cause long cues, forcing people to wait. Said one attendant, “People just didn’t know what to do. It was a mess”.

…that it would be culturally demeaning for women to have to step out of their car, and be stared at.

…that it would be unacceptable to get a bad smell or even some dirt on one’s clothing.

…that it’s just too hot to actually turn off your motor (many drivers in the UAE don’t), and get out of the car and be made therefore to feel uncomfortable.

Oddly enough, some expats have said that refilling your car is actually no big deal, some going even so far as to point out that the current gas station attendants (generally hailing from the sub-continent), don’t have any worries about standing in 50+ degree heat all day.

Some Emiratis however, being perhaps aware that their aged relatives didn’t have electricity, let alone air-conditioned BMW’s… are a resilient bunch, and have discovered ingenious solutions to this new dilemma.

An Emirati homemaker speaking with Gulf News said, “It’s hot and inconvenient, so maybe I’ll just ask my maid to help me out if at all I want to use the self-service option”.

It’s a tough life.

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DIANA MAY MCGHEE
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The next big one will be that people wash their own cars. OMG! What a world!