x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

If it ain't broke -

It's hard to see what bringing in self-service petrol stations will do for Enoc, except sell more petrol as drivers roam around seeking the few remaining serviced ones.

Undeterred by an unsuccessful first attempt, the Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc) is having another go at introducing self-service fuel pumps. Drivers with corporate accounts will have Salik-style tags on their cars, linked to the pumps, and will be billed monthly. The rest of us will have to pay in advance, then fill up. The scope for chaos is considerable. What if you pay Dh100 and find that your tank can hold only Dh80 worth of fuel? Do you take the other Dh20 worth home in a doggy bag?

It's hard to see what's in this for Enoc. Pump attendants are to be redeployed to other jobs, so the wage bill won't be reduced. Perhaps it's an attempt to sell more petrol, as motorists drive around for hours searching for a serviced filling station. Along with self-service, Enoc will also start selling petrol in litres rather than gallons; but most drivers measure fuel in neither litres nor gallons, but dirhams. If it ain't broke, the saying goes, don't fix it. But it seems no process is so simple that someone can't find a way to complicate it.