Residents devise new ways to cut fuel costs

RAS AL KHAIMAH - People here are finding it hard to cope with soaring fuel prices and they are resorting to all sorts of measures to reduce conveyance expenses.

By Sadiq A. Salam

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Published: Sun 13 Aug 2006, 10:01 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 6:09 PM

Some are selling their luxurious vehicles while others have started sharing cars in their daily trips to workplaces in Sharjah and Dubai.

Others have stopped using their six-cylinder cars for moving in the city and are driving them only for long trips to other parts of the country.

"I am trying to sell my brand new six-cylinder car because it consumes a lot of fuel. And this puts an unbearable pressure on my budget," said Bahraini national Mohammed Abdullah Al Tamimi, who works for Sharjah Municipality.

Al Tamimi bought his car just a year ago and he is still paying the instalments. "I like it because it is very luxurious and safe but I can't afford the fuel and I am ready to sell it even if it leads to some loss," he added.

"I have given up my plan of buying a six-cylinder car since the hike in oil prices was announced," Mohammed Isaac, also working for Sharjah Municipality, told Khaleej Times.

He added, "I have to consider the economic aspects. So I have to think twice before going for a car that costs a fortune. Fuel costs me around Dh720 per month and if I acquire a six-cylinder car, this will be doubled."

Isaac lives in RAK. He also said that to reduce fuel costs, people here are replacing their 6- or 8-cylinder cars with small or even mini ones. "This is expected to rise if additional oil prices are put in place," he said.

There are strong rumours here that the authorities are planning to push the fuel prices higher during the next few months.

Isaac said some of his friends, who work in Sharjah and Dubai, have started sharing cars. "Each of them travels in one car every day although they have different work timings," he added.

Some of the parking areas in the emirate - although they are located far away from commercial or residential areas like the Islamic Institute, Shaikh Rashid Mosque in Kharan area and the RAK taxi stand - could be seen crammed with cars from the early hours till afternoon.

"Most of these cars belong to those who are working in other parts of the country," he added.

Moreover, some of the emirate's people have moved nearer to their workplaces in other emirates. "Some of them have even started living in rented houses near their workplaces instead of their homes here," Isaac said.

The authorities here said that 50,000 RAK residents are employed outside the emirate. Although they lack the minimum safety measures, which are very important for long trips, four-cylinder cars inundate the newly constructed Emirates Highway, which links RAK with Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Sharjah and Dubai.

Signboards in the emirate's streets have been filled with advertisements of new types of mini and four-cylinder cars.

"Four-cylinder and mini cars are being sold like never before," said Al Hmed Yahya Al Harbi, owner of Al Harbi Car Showroom.

He pointed out that prices of some six-cylinder cars have gone down by almost 50 per cent. The market also witnessed a slight increase in the demand for six-cylinder and four-wheelers in Saudi Arabia.

"This is because oil prices there are very low and the government subsidises them," he added.

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