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Fri 8 Aug 2008 10:08 AM

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Opinions split over self service fuel stations

Arabian Business poll fuels debate on ENOC's controversial petrol sales trial in emirates.

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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Andrew 11 years ago

ENOC should have tested the initiative in areas like Jumeira and Jabel Ali, as such a concept would be welcomed by the Western Expats, as they are used to the system in the West..The rest are simply too lazy and pampered.

Hisham 11 years ago

The only reason why ppl wud want such an initiative wud be because they are tooooo lazy to get out of their cars. fires caused by static electricity in petrol pumps is only 1 in a million chance and there are far more chances of the pump catching fire than just this reason.

SR 11 years ago

Let me tell you something Andrew, there is nothing glorious about being used to pump your own petrol! The reason why it has been made so popular in Western countries is that self dispensed petrol is cheaper and other labour is expensive. So please drop the racial line as being used to dispense own petrol does not have anything to do with being not lazy nor pampered.

Rainigade 11 years ago

Moving here from the West, I can tell you that having a gas attendant is one of the perks of the region. With all the taxes and fee hikes and higher cost of living - people will begin to think twice about moving to Dubai from Europe. What do I stand to gain if all things are virtually the same AND I have to suffer this heat, humidity and other well-known cons of the region??

Tanib 11 years ago

Bring it on if it means cheaper fuel!

Neil 11 years ago

As with everything else thrown at Dubai-ites, pumping our own gas will cause a stir to start with (like Salik) and then gradually die down to acceptance.... just another pin in our ever growing pin cushion of life!

raj 11 years ago

Well, whatever the logic, if all the petrol pumps adopts the self service, it will certainly reduce the number of expats...after all, thats what the government is desperately trying to do...reduce dependency on foreign labour