When Saudis flocked to fill cars before deadline

A man injects a vehicle with fuel at a petrol station in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in this file photo taken on October 8, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 03 January 2018
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When Saudis flocked to fill cars before deadline

JEDDAH: People rushed to fill cars and other containers before the decision to increase gasoline prices took effect at midnight on Jan. 1, resulting in overcrowding at gas stations.
Abdullah Al-Twairqi tweeted: “People around the world are celebrating New Year’s Eve, while half of the population in Saudi Arabia celebrated in gas stations, waiting in long lines to fill up their cars.”
Since the announcement of the increase, videos and memes of jokes about the matter have gone viral on social media.
As an action to reduce expenses, some Saudis filmed themselves riding bicycles instead of in cars.
Others started asking: “What would happen if I gave my car 91 octane instead of 95 octane?” In his answer, @mohammed55151 tweeted: “It may cause a problem at the beginning, because it takes a little while for the digestive tract to adjust to a new formula.”
Songs were shared or rewritten to fit the timeline of events. One, by the famous Emirati singer Hussein El-Jasmi titled “Murini” or “Come with me,” was widely shared attached with a video of a group of people sharing one motorcycle.
@Alcantara757 tweeted that the unluckiest person in Saudi Arabia now is “unemployed, a smoker and drives a GMC car.”
Saudi Arabia used to be one of the countries that provided the lowest prices for gasoline. That accounts for the public reaction to the new decision.
Dalal Hamad, a Twitter user told Arab News: “I believe these people who film themselves commenting or making jokes are following every opportunity to gain fame; I don’t find them funny at all, they are fame worshippers.”
But Zekra Mohammed, another Twitter user, has another view. She told Arab News: “I believe that this phenomenon shows that jokes are a coping mechanism people use to make life easier on themselves.”
The decision raised the price of 91 octane to sell for SR1.37 ($0.37) per liter, up from 75 halalas; 95 octane increased to SR2.04 per liter, up from 90 halalas.
Notably, the new prices also include value-added tax (VAT), with 5 percent added to every purchase.


Saudi university launches survey into the effects of women driving

Trainee Maria Al-Faraj practices changing a tire during a driving lesson at the Saudi Aramco Driving Center in Dhahran. Reuters/File
Updated 37 min 29 sec ago
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Saudi university launches survey into the effects of women driving

  • A scientific survey about cars and drivers is being distributed on social media outlets, targeting male and female citizens and residents
  • The data will be analyzed to help make recommendations to benefit the community and the interests of the country

JEDDAH: Researchers will observe and document the effects women driving in Saudi Arabia have on the economy, environment, community and traffic safety. It will also gather information about attitudes toward the change in the law, and the experience of women who get behind the wheel.
With the ban on women driving in the Kingdom due to be lifted on June 24, 2018, Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University in Dammam has launched a national study titled “The impact of women’s driving on sustainable development and traffic safety in the Kingdom.”
Researchers from the university, headed by Dr. Najah bint Moqbel Al-Qarawi, a professor of geography of transportation, will supervise the project in collaboration with a specialist team from the General Directorate of Traffic.
Al-Qarawi said that a scientific survey about cars and drivers is being distributed on social media outlets, targeting male and female citizens and residents from all parts of society, in cities and villages. The questionnaire will reveal how participants feel about the issue of women driving and the potential effects it will have.
It will also measure the extent of support for the move from men, while women will be asked about their means of transportation and the main problems they face. Women who want to drive will also be asked about driving, training, the process for getting a license, their fears and aspirations, and for suggestions that might make the process easier and more appealing.
The survey will be carried out in two stages, before and after women get behind the wheel.
The data will be analyzed to help make recommendations to benefit the community and the interests of the country.
Everyone who completes a survey will be entered in a draw to win one of several cars from Almajdouie car company.