Dubai resident Aaron Illathu filled up his petrol tank today and he couldn’t be happier. “The price of my full tank has gone from Dh185 to Dh150,” he said. “It is such a relief when all other prices are going up.”

The UAE on Sunday slashed its retail fuel prices by up to 62 fils per litre for the month of August in line with the global crude oil prices. It is now the cheapest time in three months to buy fuel.

One of the best decisions the American national made is to downsize his car, he says. “I had the foresight to predict that petrol prices would increase due to the fallout of the pandemic, so a year ago, I swapped my gas guzzling 4WD to a SUV."

He has also made small adjustments to his lifestyle due to the rising cost of fuel in recent times. “My wife and I have friends in Umm Al Quwain,” he said. “Earlier, we used to drive there every weekend. Now, we go there once a month and they come to us once a month. Also, rather than driving to the store multiple times, we plan things out to get multiple things done in one trip.”

The UAE’s oil price committee reduced Super 98 by 13 per cent from Dh4.63 per litre in July to Dh4.03 in August; Special 95 price was cut by 13.27 per cent to Dh3.92 as against Dh4.52 during the comparative period; while E-Plus 91 has been priced at Dh3.84 as against Dh4.44, down by 13.5 per cent.

Humera Mansoor was one of the few who expected a drop in petrol prices this month. “Global demand for fuel has come down quite a bit due to slowing economic activity level and continued lockdowns in China,” she said. “So I was expecting a decrease in prices. I am glad it happened as it will be a relief for everyone.”

Last month, the Indian expat moved from Sharjah to Dubai, where she works. “Factoring in all the costs of petrol and the wear and tear of my car, it didn’t make any sense to live in Sharjah anymore,” she said. “I have begun using public transport whenever possible. Last week I went to Ibn Battuta and it cost me Dh5. If I was driving, the tolls alone would cost more.”

She has also begun to avoid shorter trips. “Our company is still in hybrid mode,” she said. “So I drive to office only if necessary.”

Following two consecutive months of price hikes, oil prices in the UAE reached an all-time high in July since the government announced deregulation in 2015.

Ajman resident Faten drives to work in Dubai every day and is relieved at the price decrease. “This is really good news for me,” she said. “I have to fill my tank every 4 or 5 days and this is going to make a big difference for me.”

The Syrian national has noticed a difference in fuel consumption in the way she drives. “I drive well below the speed limit of 120kmph now,” she said. “And I don’t brake often. I choose to slow down the acceleration. Just these two changes has decreased my usage of fuel a lot. Earlier I used to fill up every 2 days. Now I can sometimes go 5 days without refueling.”

Globally, oil prices have been mostly staying above $100 per barrel this year, especially after the Russia-Ukraine military crisis in February. But prices dropped below $100 in July due to recession fears.

Dubai resident Sarah Tiry is delighted that the petrol prices have dropped. “After two months of consecutive raises, I am glad we have this breather,” she said. “While everything else is going up, including having to pay for your plastic bags at supermarket, it’s really great to see a drop in fuel prices.”

The South African expat fondly remembers when a full tank used to cost her less than Dh100. “One day, I remember filling the tank and it was close to Dh200,” she said. “I am someone who had not paid close attention to the prices so this was a real wake up call.”

Since then, she has taken simple steps to improve her fuel efficiency. “I try to drive more conservatively now. Earlier I used to rush everywhere. Now I drive at slower speed over longer distances meaning you save on fuel. Another trick my husband taught me was to slow down considerably as you approach a red light so that by the time you reach it, it turns green, that way less acceleration will be needed which means you're saving on fuel. You'll be surprised at how much longer your tank lasts with just these small adjustments!”

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