Image via WikipediaThe rise in petrol prices that came into force at midnight last night means that my Pajero now costs Dhs100 to fill up. Two years ago, it cost Dhs70.
Given the fact that we still pay roughly per gallon what the UK consumer pays per litre, I can tell that any outbreak of sympathy for those affected is going to be very localised and immeasurably brief. But the move meant that the queue at my local ADNOC station last night backed up into the street, the usual amount of chaos and mayhem resulting.
Having lived through the days of petrol rationing in the UK during the 1970s, I was struck by the irony of queues in the 'Arab Street' as people tried to fill up with cheap petrol before the rise came into force. I can remember as a kid when petrol prices shot up to, gasp, over a pound per gallon. My dad used to drive around for miles trying to find cheaper petrol from garages that were still supplying at the old price. I'd point out to him that he'd burn any savings in the petrol he was using to try and find the lower prices.
I'm going on leave soon. One of my small and wicked little pleasures when going on leave is to strike up conversations with London cabbies about the price of petrol in the UAE. They really don't like it. This time I've got the ideal excuse, too: I can complain about the huge price rises and wait for them to sympathetically ask how much I have to pay for petrol before I tell them that we're getting gouged for something like 30p per litre.
It's an ill wind that blows no good...