All gas stations should be self-service



There are around 9,000 gas stations in the Kingdom, according to a 2014 report. A medium-sized gas station has 10 to 20 workers, while the larger ones have 40 to 50 employees. This means that there are at least 100,000 expatriate workers who run gas stations. The majority of these workers are illiterate and have little experience, something that I feel is dangerous.

Most countries operate self-service gas stations in which customers fill up their vehicles themselves. There are no gas station attendants except one person who runs the grocery store on the forecourt. Customers can pay by cash or card.

Maybe we should follow in the footsteps of these countries and convert all our gas stations into self-service ones. We would, in this way, not need 100,000 expatriate workers. I am certain that all gas stations could be turned into self-service ones within one year of a decision issued to this effect. By doing so, we would save millions of riyals that would have been remitted abroad by gas station workers. This would also positively benefit our economy.

Such a decision would also make us become more self-reliant, as we would fill up our vehicles ourselves. The decision would also help curb tasattur, the illegal arrangement whereby Saudis permit foreigners to manage businesses in their names in return for a share of the profits. Tasattur is dangerous and causes our economy to suffer. In my opinion, gas station attendants do not add anything to our economy. The sector would not be negatively impacted if they were to leave.