Fuel for thought. Dubai’s vehicle density is 540 per 1,000 people, one of the highest in the world Image Credit: GN Archives/Ahmed Ramzan

Dubai: With petrol prices touching a new high this month, motorists in the UAE are beginning to get cost-conscious when they hit the road.

This month the price of a litre of Super 98 has gone up to Dh2.63, from Dh2.49 in May and Dh2.33 in April, while Special 95 comes for Dh2.51, up from Dh2.37 in May and Dh2.22 in April.

The price of E-plus 91 is Dh2.44, as against Dh2.30 in May and Dh2.14 in April, according to the Ministry of Energy.

“The prices are still low compared to most other parts of the world. But I am now paying nearly double what I used to when I came to Dubai in 2006. I can’t say I am feeling the pinch at the pumps, but yes, I most certainly have to factor the price rise,” said Karl who drives a mid-segment car.

“All these years, we were spoilt by the generous subsidy. But not anymore. I pay around Dh180 for a tank full of Super, which is a good 30-40 per cent higher than what I did even last year,” said P. Singh, the owner of a luxury saloon car.

Buying cars

Some say the rising fuel costs would change the way people buy cars in the UAE. “The UAE is all about driving dream cars on fantastic roads. It’s a place where motorists fulfill their aspirations, big or small. Traditionally, petrol has been so cheap here that no one ever gave a vehicle’s mileage any thought while buying a car. But now, mileage will be a key consideration for me when I change my car,” said Shivani Sharma, a PR professional who drives a RAV 4.

According to official figures, Dubai’s vehicle density of 540 per 1,000 people is one of the highest in the world. It is also common for families to have more than one car. Even they are beginning to take note of the rising petrol prices. “Each of us in our three-member family owns a car and we pride ourselves at being independent. But last week, I had some work in Jumeirah and didn’t take my car out. I rode with my daughter as she was going in the same direction. I wanted to save gas,” said a 54-year-old father who lives in International City.

Another resident from Sharjah said he can no longer save on Salik because the fuel cost he incurs by taking the longer route to evade the toll makes up for it.

“Add to this the traffic delays and fuel consumption is becoming a concern.”