UAE's fuel retailers intend to introduce a new system whereby motorists will be offered petrol and diesel at discounted rates for self-service.
According to highly placed sources, the plan is currently on the negotiating table and will be implemented once approved by the higher authorities. The scheme will reward customers for using self-service petrol stations.
Sources told Emirates 24|7 that in the next phase of expanding the self-service, customers are most likely to be rewarded for the self-service with fuel at a rate lower than at manned petrol stations.
Fuel at discounted rate at self-service petrol stations is offered in some countries around the world and has attracted a large number of cost-conscious customers. Self-service was introduced at fuel stations in Europe, America and Canada to reduce manpower cost and to circumvent fuel station employee strikes.
Currently, 25 fuel stations are offering self-service – but not offering discounted rate – in Dubai on experimental basis.
The operational cost at a self-service fuel station is considerably less than the cost of manned fuel stations, sources said.
An official told Emirates 24l7 that the initial response to introducing self-service at selected petrol stations yielded mixed results. Some customers felt it is inconvenient but giving fuel at discounted price may tempt them to get out of their car, make payment at the convenience store and personally fill his/her vehicle’s tank.
“It is a novel idea to give a monetary incentive to motorists who’re comfortable with self-services. Womens, handicapped people, unwell and old customers are now given special preference and the staff is advised to give help,” an official said.
“I will definitely opt for self-service if I can save Dh5 by filling the car’s tank. I think everybody in town will opt for self-service. Even if my saving is small per filling, the option will have an impact on my monthly budget,” said Mohammed, who spends Dh300 per week on fuel for his four-wheel drive.
Many customers, especially women, are reluctant to get out of their vehicles to fill petrol particularly in hot and humid weather.