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Tue 14 Jun 2011 01:51 PM

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Petrol stations ration fuel as shortage drags on

Motorists complain of being turned away from stations as fuel shortfall hits retailers

Petrol stations ration fuel as shortage drags on
State-owned retailer ENOC has blamed disruption at more than 80 stations across UAE on maintenance

Petrol stations across Dubai are rationing fuel or turning
drivers away altogether as a country-wide fuel shortage stretches into its
second week, motorists told Arabian Business.

State-owned retailer ENOC has blamed disruption at more than
80 stations across emirates including Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah on
maintenance, leaving drivers struggling to find petrol.

 “I was told at three stations on Sheikh Zayed Road
that they couldn’t fill up my car but they were filling up delivery trucks so
they must have had some fuel. I ended up having to drive to the Meadows,” Dubai
resident Sarah Stafford told Arabian Business.

 “They were out of petrol at EPCO Station in Industrial
City at the weekend. The man just said; ‘sorry sir, no fuel, we’re empty’,”
said Ahmed Soliman.

Other drivers have reported a rationing of fuel. “We had
troubles at ENOC in Jumeirah – they said there was a shortage of petrol and we
couldn’t get a full tank,” said Rawiya Shihabi.

Nearly all of the 25 Dubai-based petrol stations contacted
by Arabian Business said that while they had not be told to ration petrol for
personal vehicles, they were not filling up drums, or commercial vehicles.

The Nad Al Sheba branch of EPPCO said customers filling
drums were allowed a maximum of AED25 of fuel.

Sharjah’s Executive Council last week called for an
immediate end to the fuel shortages and demanded Dubai-owned ENOC explain the
“real reasons” for the shortfall. 

Analysts have said the shortage is likely to be a reflection
of the increasing gap between fuel prices and the heavily subsidised cost at
the pump.

“It is more likely due to a shortage of funds,” said Samuel
Ciszuk, energy analyst at IHS Global Insight. “This is quite a common problem
in a system where the retail price is fixed and where the main entity is an
importer of fuel or feedstock. What normally happens in such a system is that
you receive cash injections from time to time to fill that gap.”

The UAE, the world's third largest exporter of crude oil,
has long subsidised fuel prices in an effort to cut living costs for residents,
a move that costs the state millions of dollars a year.

(Additional reporting by Sarah Morris)

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Christoph Platz 8 years ago

Just make an end of the subsidies for petrol. In Germany we pay nearly 26 AED for one gallon of petrol. Traffic still is enough.

Mike 8 years ago

no thanks. This isn't Germany. And frankly, out of the 26 dirhams you pay per gallon, I'd guess 24 dirhams are actually taxes and levies imposed by the german government and authorities.

Keep the subsidies until a proper inter- and intra-city public transport system is in place, then jack up the price to 40 dirhams a gallon, no one would care.

Viktor 8 years ago

This is what normally happens prior to petrol prices increase and it shall happen this way or the other. No one would belive that UAE is short of petrol all of the sudden, so pls. finish the negotiations ASAP tell us the new costs and let's move on....I hope you don't follow the example of Germany though, that won't comply with the tax-free policy.

Red Snappa 8 years ago

The only way is to put the prices up at the pumps like any other normal country, or have a dual rate cheaper rate for Emirati identity card holders, if that's what's causing the problem, no subsidies for expats. Petrol rationing smacks of a banana republic that's run out of cash.

It's roughly AED 400 to fill an average saloon, AED 500 to 600 for a 4WD in Ireland and the UK, so why complain!

Saudi's pumping extra for the good ole USA I hear and OPEC is not so stable, ergo maybe oil markets face irreversible change anyway.

So might as well bite the bullet, drive or pool a car or take public transport if the cost of petrol becomes too high. Cost of goods will rise anyway and sooner rail transport rather than road is available, the better the economy.

As I recall the original plan was to let petrol prices and the cost of driving rise to its true level to encourage people to take the Dubai Metro, even the introduction of Salik was to reduce the number of cars.