By Bindu Suresh Rai www.business24-7.ae
As the cost of living in the UAE accelerates today with the petrol price hike of 20 fils per litre, car users across the country will be hard-pressed to know that they pay the most for petrol in the GCC.
The new pricing structure has seen the lowest grade of petrol, E-Plus, shoot up by nearly 28 per cent this year alone – after a 15 fils per litre increase in April – making the UAE the most expensive nation in the GCC for fuel at Dh1.61 per litre.
In comparison, in Saudi Arabia petrol costs an average of 55 fils per litre, followed by Qatar at 70 fils, Kuwait at 95 fils, Bahrain at Dh1 and Oman at Dh1.51.
“I fill up my gas tank every 10 days, which will now cost me approximately an additional Dh15 every single time,” said 30-year-old chemical engineer, Naoshad Bajan.
“If you want me to put this into perspective, that covers my one trip to the movies, plus the cost of popcorn.”
Nada Al Sayed, PR executive, 26, said: “This is the second price hike this year alone; and rumours are already being fuelled that a third could also be on the cards. How are we to afford this?”
However, ask Al Sayed if this will encourage her to use Dubai’s public transportation and she was quick to say no.
“Absolutely not!,” was the response. She added: “I live in Bur Dubai and the feeder buses are still not frequent enough to get me to the closest metro station, which is BurJuman. And if I hail a cab, my average one-way fare is Dh10; that is providing the public taxis don’t increase fares to accommodate the fuel hike.”
No hike in taxi fare
The Roads and Transportation Authority, which operates Dubai Taxi Corporation, was quick to reassure that the petrol price increase would not be reflected in its rates, which has a minimum fare of Dh10.
Peyman Parham Younes, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications for the RTA told Emirates Business: “RTA will not increase the taxi fares in correlation to the petrol price hike. We didn’t do it in April either, with the earlier hike. The RTA provides a service for the public and we are ensuring in every way possible that the masses take advantage of what we have to offer.”
Quizzed if RTA was expecting a spike in passenger numbers for Dubai Metro as a direct result of the price increase, and Younes said it was possible.
“Some people are driven to use the metro because of its pricing structure, which is currently rated as being one of the cheapest in the world. Naturally, as petrol becomes more expensive, people will look at alternatives and the metro, along with our growing network of feeder buses provide a cost effective alternative.”