Monday, April 19, 2010

Panic in the streets of Abu Dhabi

That part is true. The panic part is most certainly not. And the answer is way obvious: it's so cheap here, no one really cares.

You know the big signs that gas stations in (for instance) the United States have? The ones that advertise the prices of gas so that you stop and fill up there and not at one of the station's competitors? Those don't exist here. The price of gas is the same throughout the nation, and although there are "competing" companies selling gas to motorists, they're all owned by the government. The one in Abu Dhabi, Adnoc, is actually an acronym for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

What does this price increase mean for the consumer? Not a ton. Although the price of gas is already the highest of any Gulf country, it is still ridiculously low--about $1.40 per gallon. Saudi Arabian prices are near the bottom, at roughly 60 cents per gallon.

But like I said, you can't even tell what the price is until you pull up to the pump... and because someone always pumps it for you, it's more a matter of waiting for the total cost and handing the guy Dh100.

So not a big deal. On the other hand, if you compare prices with those in two Midwestern cities close to my heart--Chicago and Kansas City--you see what a bunch of handwaving the rest of this blog post is. K.C. has some of the lowest prices in the U.S.... and they are still nearly double those of what I see at the Adnoc down the street.

Patriotic colors unintentional.

In the end, what are we left with? Global bragging rights (in your FACE, Amsterdam!) and very little incentive to drive fuel-efficient cars. But at least someone will clean my windshield for free when I stop to fill up.

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