Opinions split over self service fuel stations

Arabian Business poll fuels debate on ENOC's controversial petrol sales trial in emirates.
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 08 Aug 2008 10:08 AM

The decision by energy group ENOC to introduce self service petrol stations in Dubai and the northern emirates has split opinion down the middle.

According to the result of an Arabian Business online poll, you either love the idea or hate it and it remains to be seen whether the trial, which starts next week, will be a success or disaster.

On Wednesday, ENOC announced the self service trial would start at three sites in Dubai, and seven in the northern emirates on August 12.

And while 35 percent of people who responded to our poll on Thursday thought it was a good idea and would be encouraged to fill up their petrol tanks without the assistance of a pump assistant, 38 percent were appalled by the prospect.

They believed that ENOC had scored a spectacular PR own goal and would lose customers as a result. They also hit out at the company for getting rid of the hard working pump assistants.

The company argued the initiative, which requires customers to park by the petrol pump, go inside the store and pay the purchase amount after identifying the pump number and product, is aimed at “keeping up with international trends”.

A receipt for the payment will be issued, and the pump will automatically stop when the authorised amount is dispensed.

But the move angered 15 percent of respondents who said they would be staying away from the self service stations in favour of ones where you remain seated in your car while an assistant does all the work.

A further 12 percent of respondents said they were willing to give the new system a go and would see how it all worked out.

ENOC said the self-service is only for cash payments, and smoking and use of mobile phones while filling up are strictly forbidden.

The issue also caused a stir among our readers who felt strong enough to comment on the story. Again, opinion was split while Larry Alzaga, of Abu Dhabi, raised concerns that people not used to dealing with fuels were liable to cause a gas station fire.

"People filling petrol themselves have caused fires while using their mobile phones. Are the consumers aware of the dangers of static electricity?" he said.

The locations of the 10 service stations are Al Bada’a, opposite Jumeirah Jail, Al Manara on Jumeirah Beach Road, Al Hashimi, behind Sahara Centre, Al Falah, Emirates Road, Sharjah, Al Arouba, Ajman-Sharjah Road, Al Ittihad, Greenbelt Road in Sharjah, Al Rafia on the Dhaid-Sharjah Road, Al Gharafa on Ajman Main Street, Marine, Fujairah Marine Club and Thouban on Sharjah-Fujairah highway.

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Last Updated: Thu 26 Jan 2017 01:27 PM GST

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