Dubai: Although fuel prices in the UAE are among the lowest in the world, cases of motorists filling up their cars at petrol pumps and driving off without paying are not uncommon. At least that is what can be inferred from notices that some gas stations have put up on their premises.
The notices against the ‘fill and run’ cars clearly mention their registration numbers along with their make and colour so that gas station staff and other customers stay duly alerted.
While the operators did not respond to XPRESS queries on the matter, the trend is not limited to the UAE. In the West and some Asian countries, cases of ‘fill and run’ are reported regularly and tend to peak when fuel prices go up.
Such instances occur brazenly despite installation of CCTVs and issue of alerts. Reports of petrol pump staff being injured while stopping such fill and run cars are also reported on and off in the West.
But industry experts say there is little reason for fuel thefts in the UAE where the cost remains low. The prices of petrol (per litre) in February, including five per cent VAT, are Dh2.36 for Super 98; Dh2.25 for Special 95 and Dh2.17 for E Plus-91. The diesel price has been fixed at Dh2.49 per litre.
As reported in the past, customers, who were hardpressed to pay for fuel, would sign a declaration and leave their ID cards as guarantee with the petrol pumps. One retailer chain had told XPRESS, “On an average we encounter 13 cases per month across networks where the customers fail to pay and we are forced to follow up with the police.” While most customers came back and settled the amount within 48 hours as stated in the signed declaration, a few played truant.