The recent surge in interest in sustainable development has been taken the new generation by storm. Especially in UAE. In Abu Dhabi, for example, it is said that a whole new generation is needed to convert the UAE citizens from petrol consuming 4x4s into smaller, more energy efficient vehicles, in spite of the sky-high fuel prices and government incentives or statements made by experts and car enthusiasts
Four-wheel drives have become an almost integral part of UAE’s driving culture. Which might make it more difficult for persuading people to turn to green transportation. It is interesting to note that the UAE is an exceptional case when it comes to fuel prices. Around the world, petrol prices are high but in UAE for example, they are quite low and the population has a high purchasing power too.
Cheap petrol and the high purchasing power of large segments of the population make the Emirates a special case.
Fuel prices were deregulated in August 2015. This led to a pricing policy in which the global prices of fuels were used. In the first three months of 2017, the prices of petrol and diesel rose in the first three months. They later dropped down in August. Motorists are paying Dh1.95 a litre for Super 98, Dh1.84 for Special 95, Dh1.77 for E-plus while diesel costs Dh1.95.
The UAE government is quite vocal in encouraging people to use public transport. Plus it is also heavily promoting the use of electric cars and other electric vehicles for everyday transport. To supplement this, the government is also installing several charging points in order to facilitate the use of electric vehicles.
Another challenge in shifting towards, smaller, economical and more cleaner vehicles is the safety factor and the perception people attach to it. Most of the drivers of 4×4 or SUVs claim that they feel safer in their large vehicles as compared small or mid size cars. It is possible that the elevated driving position gives a feeling of security and safety in these large vehicles.
UAE has large and extensive motorways and off road tracks. These SUVs and 4x4s provide a sense of safety and off road capability of driving perfectly at ease which has popularized them.
SUVs and 4x4s are built so that large families can be accommodated which is also a big factor considered by Emirati drivers.
The roads have been constructed in such a manner that they are large and are of relative high speed. This automatically makes them ideal for larger vehicles. “The roads are large and relatively high speed and lend themselves to being used by larger vehicles. And driving a large vehicle on a large road makes you more comfortable.
Although both the locals and the foreigners prefer to use the larger SUVs, once customers are provided with financial aid and incentives, it would then bring a significant change in the purchase of cars.
The Government of UAE is taking ample amount of action in making their country the world leader in sustainability and green energy. It is determined on reducing its carbon foorprint and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Government offered incentives are an excellent way to educating customers to shift to the right direction while the value added tax woll provide the government with another powerful tool for motivating its citizens.
But we must all be practical. And the reality, while bitter, states that electric car would make things better, they may not be a very good alternative as of yet because of their limited range, long recharging periods and most importantly perhaps… their price.
Also, there is the Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy which is developed to transform almost 25% of the entire transportation system in Dubai autonomous by the year 2030. This strategy is expected to bring in almost AED 22 billion in annual economic revenues in various sectors as it will reduce the transportation costs, carbon emissions, and human accidents. Plus it will save millions of hours wasted in availing the public transport.
Transportation costs are expected to fall down by 44 percent once this autonomous strategy is implemented. This can also lead up to the savings of around AED 900 million in a year. And by reducing the carbon pollution by almost 12 per cent AND produce AED 18 billion in the annual economic returns which will occur because of the increase in efficiency in the transportation sector, the government of Dubai can potentially save up to almost AED 1.5 billion a year.
What is more, the Dubai Automonous Transportation Strategy is also designed to reduce the accident rates and losses down to almot 12 per cent. This is equal to an annual savings of AED 2 billion and is likely to increase the individual productivity by almost 13 per cent. Estimating from all this data and more, this initiative by the UAE government will save up to 396 million hours on transportation trips. And the parking space will be constructed in a better many.