Timeframe: Pumping petrol in Dubai in 1977

Self-service petrol pumping is now available in Abu Dhabi, so we look back to when we serviced our own cars in the 1970s

Station service, en octobre 1977, à Dubaï, Emirats Arabes Unis. (Photo by François LOCHON/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

This week, for the first time, motorists in Abu Dhabi have had the opportunity to choose between pumping their own petrol, or paying for an attendant to pump it for them. Gone are the days of pulling into an Adnoc station, stating your request – “special full, please” – and sitting in a cool car while the numbers on the gauge roll higher. Now, it costs Dh10 for the privilege.

That got us thinking about what it was like at service stations in days gone by. We found this image from 1977; it was taken at a Dubai Shell station and shows two men servicing their Mercedes W114. Cool, right?

By now we have become accustomed to full service, including having our windscreens washed while we wait for our tanks to fill. But a new era of self-sufficiency approaches and we hope we’ll be as competent as these gentlemen.


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