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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

UAE petrol prices: motorists in the Emirates are still getting a relative bargain

Even after the latest increase, a litre of fuel is still among the cheapest in the world

UAE motorists still enjoy driving in one of the cheapest markets for petrol in the world. Courtesy ADNOC
UAE motorists still enjoy driving in one of the cheapest markets for petrol in the world. Courtesy ADNOC

The price at the pump is set to rise from December, capping off a year of almost steadily increasing petrol prices for motorists.

Compared with the start of 2017, the driver of a car with a 60 litre capacity tank will be paying around Dh14 more to fill up than they did in January.

The price of Special will increase to Dh2.04 in December, compared with Dh1.80 twelve months ago.

The 24 fils rise represents an increase of nearly 12 per cent over 2017. According to Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre, consumer price inflation for the first six months of this year was 2.2 per cent.

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Petrol prices

Explainer: How the price is set at the pumps

December fuel prices to rise

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December’s increase will hit users of E Plus 91 hardest, rising 6.48 per cent, while Special will be 6.25 per cent more expensive.

With a rise of just 4.26 per cent, diesel users will be best off, while the increase for the highest rated Super 98 is 5.91 per cent or Dh2.15 a litre.

Petrol prices will increase for the month of December. Alvaro Sanmarti / The National
Petrol prices will increase for the month of December. Alvaro Sanmarti / The National

That means filling a Toyota Land Cruiser, with a capacity of 93 liters, will cost almost exactly Dh200.

The increases mean some motorists are already feeling the pain.

Ibrahim Al Katbi, an Emirati living in Fujairah who visits Abu Dhabi three times a week for work, said he expects to pay around Dh120 more per month to fill his car up with petrol.

“The Patrol costs me around Dh450 to Dh500 per week and after they increase the prices I expect to pay Dh100 to Dh120 extra per month, which something I can manage for now but another price hike will surely become alarming, as we are used to paying less for fuel in this region,” said Mr Al Katbi, who works in construction.

Jamal Abdulmutaleb, who commutes daily from Sharjah to Dubai for work, said that the increase in the petrol prices will cost him around Dh80 per month.

"I already have many financial commitments that I need to fulfil and this raise will definitely affect my budget,” said Mr Abdulmutaleb, a 33-year-old Jordanian living in Al Qasimia in Sharjah.

“I drive every day to Jebel Ali for work and that’s about 75 kilometres each way. I fill the car tank every three to four days depending on the usage, so this price increase will cost me around Dh70 to Dh80 a month,” he said.

Prices are likely to rise again in the New Year when VAT at 5 per cent is added to fuel for the first time.

Petrol prices fell to their lowest during the summer months, dropping to Dh1.75 for Special in July. They have risen almost every month since then, with the only fall recorded in November, when Special went down to Dh1.92.

Retail fuel prices in the UAE. Alvaro Sanmarti / The National
Retail fuel prices in the UAE. Alvaro Sanmarti / The National

Petrol subsidies in the UAE were ended by the Government in August 2015, with the price adjusted every month to take account of world markets.

That first month saw the price of Special increase by 23.6 per cent from Dh1.72 per litre to Dh2.14.

Since then, the price of a litre of Special has fallen to as low as Dh1.36 in March of last year, at the height of the oil price slump.

Only three times has it gone over Dh2 a litre, including two of the last three months of 2017.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), is due to gather in Vienna later this week, with a background of steadily increasing prices for crude since they last met in May.

Despite the rises, UAE motorists can at least find comfort that the country’s petrol prices are still among the lowest in the world.

Only 12 countries have cheaper fuel than the UAE - mostly oil producing nations where it is heavily subsidised.

In Europe, petrol is still at least three times more expensive than in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In the UK it is currently the equivalent of Dh5.90 a litre and nearly Dh7 in the Netherlands.

In the USA, where petrol prices are historically lower than Europe, a litre of petrol is around Dh2.72.

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