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If You Think Gas Is Cheap These Days, Look What It Costs In Saudi Arabia

posted on: Feb 8, 2015

Ahmed al-Ghaith pulled his Dodge Durango into a gas station in central Riyadh and told the attendant to fill it up. In a country where gas sells for 45 cents a gallon, that cost him $12.

With global oil prices plummeting, you might think people in Saudi Arabia, a nation synonymous with oil, where 90 percent of government revenue comes from holes drilled in its majestically profitable sands, would be freaking out.

But at a busy downtown gas station one day recently, there was not a whiff of concern among the drivers of the stream of Audis, Cadillacs, Mercedes-Benzes, Dodges and Chevys pulling up to the pumps in a land where government-subsidized gas is as cheap as water.

“Personally, it doesn’t affect me a bit,” said Ghaith, 49, who works in a bookstore and spends about $40 a month fueling his big American-made SUV. “It might affect the government in the future — maybe they will have to cut back on their big projects. But it’s no problem for me.”

In Saudi Arabia, the general response to the drop in global oil prices by half — from more than $100 a barrel six months ago to around $50 now — is a shrug.