Monthly Archives: May 2009

Souq Sharq

By | Architecture, Urban | 20 Comments

Souq Sharq is classic example of an architect crippling a design by attempting to force one single idea on a project regardless of negative consequences. It is an attempt at creating iconographic architecture at the expense of more basic circulatory, programmatic and conceptual strategies.

Souq Sharq’s one big idea:

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The focal point of the design is obviously the artificial marina. The designer has decided to squeeze it in between the mall and Gulf Road. This design decision carries with it enormous consequences as every element in the project is basically subservient to this concept. I have to admit, the view of the boats lined up in neat little rows with Souq Sharq in the background is a wonderful panorama. It does worry me that the architect has organized the design strategy based on this postcard image and has missed many architectural and urban opportunities while also committing crippling errors that, in my view, ruin the entire project.

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The site is located beautifully on the Arabian Gulf Road, with stunning potential views of the nearby Kuwait Towers, and walking distance from the Great Mosque and Sief Palace. The architects decided to build on reclaimed land from the Gulf to create the artificial marina. This decision must have cost the developer millions in dewatering and to lay underwater foundations, yet most of the reclaimed land is inexplicably filled with parking! The image above shows the overall shape of the mall. The prominent protrusion with the ‘?’ is obviously the most important element in the building. It has views on all three sides of the Arabian Gulf. It is the cinema. The architect has decided to place the one program that does not require any natural light whatsoever (let alone stunning views of the Gulf) and placed it in a prime location. This is architectural treason. Demolishing any wall in the movie theater will open up breathtaking views of the Arabian Gulf. Isn’t that sad?

The mall itself has many more problems as well. The image below shows a major flaw in the project. When was the photo taken? During the day or at night? You really can’t tell because even though the site has incredible views at every direction, the architect has failed completely to provide any natural light or even a way to look outside. Once you’re inside, you’re effectively cut off from the outside world. This is how architects design casinos and big box stores; places where the owner wants you to lose all track of place and time. It is not a pleasant experience.

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-Souq Sharq (Cajie-flickr)

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The project is such a tragic missed opportunity. The site is blessed with amazing views and water all around. What has the architect decided to do? Fill more than 70% of the site with ugly parking. Couldn’t they have built a multistory parking facility right where the Fishing Market is? This would have freed up all that wasted space which could have been a green park zone filled with cafes, restaurants, water sports facilities or even a beach. It becomes clear studying the site that the perimeter is the most important element of the project, not the artificial marina. The designer forced a condition onto the site that didn’t belong there, and by doing so, wasted the true potential of the site. Why not have the marina on the outside surrounding the project? This would have freed the space currently used up by the marina to have more multistory parking or space for expanding the mall into additional phases. The marina also forced the car circulation to bottleneck into only two arteries. This means that on weekends most of the traffic is not from people looking for parking, but people trying to drive in or out of the mall.

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The project is a failure. It was the first major national project built after the Gulf War. The intention was to create a new national icon. I think we can all agree that it has failed miserably. Souq Sharq is a bunker. It is a sad example of iconographic architecture. The building simply does not work. The potential for a pleasant pedestrian promenade on the waterfront was never realized. The only good thing that came out of it was that the developers of The Avenues learned from these mistakes and have created a project that does work. Just imagine if The Avenues were built on Souq Sharq’s location. Wouldn’t that have been wonderful?


Office da

By | Urban | 9 Comments

Contrasting with the abomination of Aswaq Al-Qurain (which is close to completion) is a highly successful proposal in Sharq by Boston based architecture firm Office da. The project is a mixed use residential district in the heart of Kuwait City.

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At first glance, the cynical amongst you would say ‘Hey this looks just like the other one, but with towers. It even has palm trees’. Yes, it does look like it because the renders both have white boxes and palm trees. So what’s different?

“The Sharq District is developed as a multi-purpose neighborhood containing civic, retail, commercial and residential programs. As such, it is conceived as a self sufficient district as well as a point of destination for others in the Kuwait central city area.

The housing occupies two paradigms: matte building and tower. The matte building benefits from courtyard conditions which offer exceptional value to each household: open space, light, air, views and privacy all features conventionally absent in this class of real estate. Towers define the silhouette of the Sharq district, anchoring the site from different approaching perspectives.

A retail spine connects the Al Shuhada Park to the City on the east-west axis. This axis will house a variety of amenities that will furnish the district with its daily needs (supermarket, hardware store, etc), but will also make available a range of other retail environments.”

-Office da

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As you can see, the current site is occupied by low rise warehouses and run down residential units dating back to the 70s. The site is, in my opinion, one of the best locations in Kuwait. Right across the street from the Shuhada Park, great access to the First Ring road and the Fahaheel Expressway, walking distance to Al-Raya and the new dense high-rise zone that’s coming up there. It’s just incredible. Such a high potential space for redevelopment. The only major downside to the site is that giant graveyard in the middle. (Why aren’t graveyards green?)

sharqqurain

The difference in size of the two projects is frightening. I still cannot fathom the absolute vulgarity of the vastness of Aswaq Al-Qurain. The size comparison alone is enough to differentiate the two sites. One is a relatively human scale area that is surgically integrated into a larger urban fabric, and the other is an enormous square that looks so heavy and has such visual gravity that it makes everything around it shrink one order of magnitude smaller.

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The developer seems to have rights to build on almost the entire block of land, except for the graveyard and that bottom left corner plot. Also, it seems like that plot in the top and middle isn’t part of the project either. We can see that most of the original street structure was maintained on the left side, but completely redone on the right side. This would mean additional infrastructure work is needed, but the design narrative justifies this.

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This diagram shows how car circulation is defined in the project. As you can see, there are no meandering, crisscrossing lines and there are 15 access points around the perimeter of the site. This is far more than what developers usually have (the original site had 6), even though they end up with just as much real estate being taken up by streets. What this means is fewer bottlenecks. I would also expect the narrower streets to be one-way so as to have a more efficient system for parking. Also evident in the diagram is that most of the streets cross the project in one direction. The point of all this is to have an easily walkable space and the only reason there is a street in the first place is to simply get you to your house. The design parameters call for every house having access to the street and that the streets take up as little real estate as possible. This is the most efficient way to do it. You don’t see roundabouts do you? You don’t need them if you just drive in a straight line.

Picture 8

This diagram shows pedestrian circulation. The axis that runs down the site is the main feature of the project. It provides a walkable space that links the Shuhada Park with the rest of the city. If you start at the top left of the project, at the roundabout, you will see a line of shops along the main road. This line continues until it reaches the axis where it then turns right and into the site. This major shift is what will draw people in. Pedestrians walking alone the road will follow the line of shops into the site, where they will walk through a shaded promenade of shops, cafes, green spaces and a small football pitch. This procession will continue along the axis and transition into a bridge that takes you over Soor Street and down into Shuhada Park.

This is what makes this project special. Not floor space calculations. Not nice glittering renders that show people in dishdashas mingling with supermodels. Not a high-end advertising campaign that shows families enjoying a picture perfect life. Good architectural and urban design is understanding the parameters of the site and program and devising a strategy that best solves the problems at hand. I didn’t even mention the towers, the underground parking system, the way the housing units are raised a floor above grade to have a continuous network of courtyards on the ground plane. The space is rich and livable. This is good urban design. We need to make this.

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Location: Al-Sharq, Kuwait
Architect:
Office da

Design Team:
Ghazal Abbasy, Matt Johnson, SGH, Arthur Chang, Nader Tehrani, Anna Goodman, Sean Baccei, Kurt Evans, Monica Ponce de Leon, Ahmad Reza Schricker, Lisa Huang.

Urbanism?

By | Social, Urban | 4 Comments

The evolution of urbanity in Kuwait is a deeply contradictory process rooted in a profound lack of self awareness and a shameful desertion of cultural and social identity.

Whatever remains of our authentic urban language has devolved into a Disney-fied parody of tradition. A predictably fake repetition of a superficial ‘cultural’ facade. We live in fake urbanism. We drive around a plastic city. What happened?

In our pubescent rush to modernize we replaced our urban tradition with mostly western models; large air-conditioned shopping malls, glittering office towers and suburban segregated residential divisions. The practices that were imported were not assimilated into our building methods and cultural code. It replaced them. Looking at Kuwait City today we see almost no hints of a historic fabric, only remnants and oddities of archeological interest. It is a city built on a tabula rasa. Projects are conceived independently, as with the western archetype, with only a cursory hint at the context which surrounds them. This results in very little cohesion within the urban condition. Business districts being evacuated after work hours. Residential areas crammed and suffocated with houses but no room for space to breathe.

This is our city. It is what it is, and complaining about it won’t change a thing. What we will propose in re:kuwait are pragmatic solutions to specific problems and broader strategies that might help Kuwait City slowly regain its urban dignity. There are already some indications of positive growth happening in places and we will highlight those whenever we can. Then there is Aswaq Al-Qurain.

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At first, I honestly thought this was a joke. I really don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The soviet educated imbecile that ‘designed’ this monstrosity needs to be castrated, quartered and burned. I’ll do it myself if I see him. I know it’s a him because only a man would have the balls and arrogance to excrete this shit. This project is about the same size as Al-Jabriya! What were they thinking? Imagine the worst residential co-op, with all the inherent parking mess, multiplying to what appears to be infinity. What program could possibly require such an array of identical boxes? This is wrong. Yet it exists. It not only exists, but it’s being aggressively marketed as a unique destination where all our consumer dreams are realized.

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As an architect, it simply blows my mind that a client would ever accept such drivel. This is a perfect example of the level of urban poverty that has befallen us. What is this? Planting some palm trees doesn’t absolve you of your duty to integrate a project into your site. Having a small budget doesn’t mean you don’t generate a concept. This is lazy design created by square meter calculations and rental pricing studies. It is design by spreadsheet. We have to burn this.

Kuwait Metro: The Map

By | Metro | 21 Comments

Here is an updated (version 1.1.2) map of our proposal for the Kuwait Metro project. This design was based heavily on the Kuwait Overland Transport Union map. The major problem that was evident in that proposal were two parallel lines that went north/south on either side of Al-Rumaithiya and Salwa. We felt that was very excessive and that only one line would suffice. The Salmiya line was split into two, with Bayan becoming a rather important Park and Ride station that would serve the surrounding residential areas. There are other minor changes, such as stations being added and removed. Examples being Liberation Tower merged with the Central Bus Station and Al-Mohalab Mall merged with Qadsiya Stadium.

KuwaitMetro112

The current iteration of the design has a total track of 98.7km, with 44.8km (45%) being underground. We will in the future explain the design in much greater detail, dedicating a post to every line and interchange. We will also explore the possibilities for urban renewal as a result of this weaving of a new infrastructure system and emergent nodes. In the meantime, please enjoy the map and we welcome your ideas and comments.

This is a very exciting project which will no doubt reveal a lot about our beloved city, but we proceed knowing full well the political impotence that has crippled Kuwaiti progress. We have to prove to them and to ourselves that we can imagine a better Kuwait and a brighter future.

Kuwait Metro: Over or Under?

By | Metro | No Comments

A major decision regarding the design of the metro project is whether to go underground or above ground. The ideal solution would be to have it all on grade (on the existing ground level) as that would be the cheapest option, both for laying track and for the construction of the metro stations and interchanges. Having to excavate underground is the least desirable option. This is a photograph of one of the tunnels underneath the old Dubai Deira area for the Red Line of the Dubai Metro.

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It is 9m wide and the excavation has taken more than two years. The residents in the buildings above it have been living a nightmare with shaking walls and floors, babies crying and blocked roads. Once completed, an underground system like the one they have in London would be great for Kuwait. We have very little space above ground for trains to maneuver and you can bet that nobody would want to live next to noisy shaky train route. However, building underground will cost about twice as much as having a raised track, as they do on most of the line in Dubai.

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The advantages of the raised track are that they can pass over existing roads and highways without deeply modifying them while also creating the potential for new urban modalities in the space underneath it. Kuwait also has a major problem in that our water table is too high and contaminated with hydrogen sulfide:

Hydrogen sulfide occurs in high concentration (10–200 mg/l) in different parts of Kuwait City and its suburbs at relatively shallow depths (15–40 m from the surface). This was revealed by drilling through the aquifer system underlying the city and sampling and analyzing the ground water at the drilled locations.

-Water Resources Division, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a colorless, toxic and flammable gas. If you go near the Dar al-Awadhi building and the area behind it you will smell H2S seeping out of the ground. It is a major impediment to the excavation of any underground tunnels for the metro project. However, as we shall see from studying the urban fabric of our city, we will begin to realize that some areas must be accessed underground. This is because of security, political or logistical reasons that force us to go down below. The study commissioned by the Kuwait Overland Transport Union calls for 60km of the 170km project be underground (35%). Where would the underground lines be? How would they transition from above ground to underground? There needs to be a long linear free space to allow enough room for the train to go under. A grade of anything above %12 is not very comfortable. Is there room in Kuwait to do all this?

Kuwait Metro: Progress

By | Metro | No Comments

KUWAIT: Work on a planned $7 billion metro project will be postponed for at least 18 months as the government undertakes a wide ranging study of the country’s land based transport requirements. Sources in Kuwait said that the project, which has been planned independently of the government, must now be folded into the national transport strategy.

As per report, a consortium led by the UK’s Atkins, US’ Parsons Brinckerhoff and local firm Gulf Consult, has been chosen by Kuwait municipality to undertake the country wide transport master plan. The formal signing of the 15 month contract is due to take place in February 2009, with the group submitting its findings in the summer of 2009. As a result, no progress on the metro can be made until then at the earliest.

The metro has been developed by the Kuwait Overland Transport Union. A feasibility study of the project was completed in May 2008 by Spanish transport consultant INESCO and local project management firm Kuwait United Development.
Kuwait Overland originally said the plan would be presented to the government for approval before the end of 2008, along with its proposal for a $7 billion national rail project to form Kuwait’s section of the proposed GCC railway.

However, one source close to the metro project said that it will now have to wait until the master plan is completed to see if it recommends building either a light rail or a metro scheme. He said that “The metro network is not a government initiative. It has some supporters in government, but while Kuwait Overland has been planning the project, Kuwait Municipality has been preparing invitation documents for the public transport master plan.”

- MEED January 24, 2009

This is old news, but nobody really knows what’s going on with regards to the progress of this project. The map we’ve seen floating around was apparently part of a study commissioned by the Kuwait Overland Transport Union, a private entity. It seems now that the study is being incorporated into the government’s ‘transportation master plan’.  I would urge that these studies be made public and a transparent discussion be initiated involving all interested participants.

Here is a quick summary of the progress of the project from Zawya.com:

  • In January 2009, the project was delayed for about 18 months since the government of Kuwait is conducting a study of the transportation networks in Kuwait (this country-wide study will be done by the consortium of Atkins, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and Gulf Consult). In 2011, the ITB for the construction contracts is expected to be issued. The completion of the project is expected in 2016 (The original completion date was in 2014).
  • In August 2008, the higher committee of the cabinet approved the feasibility study.
  • In May 2008, the feasibility study was completed. A final approval from relevant ministries was expected to be granted by May 2008.
  • In September 2007, officials announced that Kuwait’s Ministry of Planning is in discussions to hire an international consultant to set the TOR.
  • In June 2006, a feasibility study contract was awarded to Ingenieria & Consultoria de Transporte (Ineco) of Spain. The study will include route alignment, traffic studies, revenue forecasting and financing options.

Kuwaiti Fuel Tax

By | Energy | 5 Comments

“Domestic consumption levels are Between 2007 and 2018, we are forecasting an increase in Kuwaiti oil production of 40.9%, with crude volumes rising steadily to 3.70mn b/d by the end of the 10-year forecast period. Oil consumption between 2007 and 2018 is set to increase by 42.4%, with growth slowing to an assumed 4.0% per annum towards the end of the period and the country using 393,000b/d by 2018.”

-Kuwait Oil and Gas Report 2009

KD033 Oil Well

Assuming a price average of $50 per barrel and oil production is 2.6 million barrels per day at a negligible cost, Kuwait produces oil that is valued at 13.7 billion KD per year. With domestic consumption at a rate of 0.33 million barrels per day, this means that Kuwait consumes 1.7 billion KD worth of its own fuel every year. We consume 12.6% of our total oil production. That seems to me to be a ridiculously high amount for a nation who’s GDP is made up almost entirely out of oil revenues.

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The graph shows the relationship between the value of our consumed oil (1.739 billion KD) and our exported oil (12 billion KD). As you can see our domestically consumed oil amounts to around 12.6% of our total oil produced. This is the oil that is refined into petrol domestically and sold to consumers in petrol stations around the country.

graph(3)

This chart shows how Norway (values in USD) consumes less oil at home than we do in Kuwait. The dotted line represents the level of the Kuwaiti consumption. As you can see the Norwegians manage to reduce their percentage of oil consumption to nearly a half of what we do in Kuwait. The extra oil we consume does not give us any increase in our quality of life. All it does is make it easier for us to endlessly drive our cars, clogging the streets up, make parking a nightmare and fill the air with pollutants. The Economy Intelligence Unit’s Quality of Life index shows Norway to be at 8.05/10 compared to Kuwait at 6.171/10.

09-03-Kuwait Petroleum Prodxn & Consxn

  • What? Restructuring the way wealth is redistributed through fuel subsidies
  • Why? Lower fuel costs encourage wasteful driving and discourages transportation alternatives
  • How? Abolishing the fuel subsidy and replacing it with a fuel tax rebate for the Kuwaiti workforce.

The oil that is consumed domestically is obviously not given away for free. It is sold back to consumers at a heavily subsidized rate. It is this subsidy that I believe should be restructured in a way that would provide smarter benefits to Kuwaiti citizens. Instead of giving away the oil for practically nothing and allowing people to waste it without not knowing its true value; I propose that the subsidy be abolished and the revenue generated from the domestic oil sales be given back to citizens as a form of energy tax rebate. What this means is that the price of a gallon of petrol would rise to 5 times its current level. A full tank of gas that cost me 5KD would now cost 25KD. This is because I am now paying for the true value of this commodity and the government is not losing any money because it is selling it to me and not Japan. This also means that the government is making 5 times as much money from its domestic sales as it did before. This extra revenue will be given back to all the Kuwaiti workforce as a form of energy rebate. The mechanism is already in place for most citizens working for the public and private sector.

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Let’s assume that the average Kuwaiti spent 50KD on petrol per month. Some spent less, and some spent more. At the end of the month, the average monthly energy expenditure for Kuwaiti citizens is calculated and that figure is given back to all Kuwaitis equally. This means that the person that spent 50KD will get 50KD added to his paycheck for that month. A person that spent 10KD for petrol will also get 50KD thereby rewarding him with a 40KD profit for his efficiency. A person that spent 200KD will get 50KD also which means his real energy expenditure was 150KD for the month, a punishing amount that will force anyone to reconsider their driving habits. This mechanism of reward and punishment will force us to behave differently because of our financial self interest, and not out of love for the environment or desire for less congestion, even though that will be the end result.

Kuwait Metro

By | Metro | No Comments

I wake up, fall out of bed. I drag a comb across my head. Find my way downstairs and drink a cup. I grab my keys, start my car and drive to the closest Park and Ride station; Bayan. It takes a few minutes to get there, long enough for me to enjoy a song or two. I park my car on the fifth floor. It’s crowded today.

Standing on the escalator I notice a bunch of kids downing McFlurries. I didn’t know the Bayan station had a McDonalds. I hear the train pull in and I start walking up the rest of the way. On the train I can never see my house, we go underground too soon for me to catch a glimpse of it. After a few short stops i’m out at the Jaber Al-Mubarak station and walking across the street to my office.

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KUWAIT, Aug 17, 2008 (KUNA) — “The Ministry of Communications has referred to the cabinet its report on the construction of an underground metro network and laying railway tracks, said Minister Abdulrahman Al-Ghunaim on Sunday.

In a press statement, he said the higher committee tasked with studying this vital project had approved the feasibility study conducted by Kuwait Transportation Union.

The higher committee, headed by the Communications Ministry, groups representatives of many relevant government bodies.

He noted that this vibrant project fell in line with the directives of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to transform Kuwait into a financial and commercial center, and reflected the emphasis that the government placed on the project as a mobilizer for commerce and national economy.

Al-Ghunaim noted that the project would serve to reduce traffic congestions, which he said had become a phenomenon.

The report has been referred to the cabinet, which in turn will refer it to the joint services-economic committee, he explained, adding that an authority would have to be established to oversee these projects.

The minister also noted that the private sector would have a leading role to play on this project.”

——–

A proposal for an inner-city rail network in Kuwait City has been kicking around our Ministries for a long time now. For several political and financial reasons it has never really taken hold. In between long silences news is broadcast declaring a new step taken, or a proposal outlined. This self imposed delay has allowed the project to avoid being fast tracked during the boom years where it could have been rushed without the proper care and planning such an national endeavor requires. We here at re:kuwait will be analyzing the feasibility of such a project and its urban ramifications.

Kuwait City Metro Map

This map of the proposed ‘Kuwait City Metro Network’ is the only evidence I could find that this project exists. It was scanned from an issue of MEED A quick look at the map reveals that they are concentrating on Hawally/Salmiya, the City, and the Kheitan/Farwaniya areas. It seems fair to say that the priorities of this proposal are identical to those of existing bus routes; with the exception of the additional stops at universities, sports arenas and malls. Who designed this map? What were their intentions and what problems were they hoping to solve?

Since we do not have any answers to those questions, we will make some up ourselves. Why do we need a Metro System?

  • Reduce traffic congestion
  • Create new urban nodes and help decentralize the city
  • Lower carbon emissions
  • Provide alternative transportation methods
  • Potential revenue from passenger and development at train stops
  • Reduce the number of cars needed to ease parking dillemas

What are the major obstacles to realizing the project? What are the parties that will end up suffering as a result of its succesful completion? Are there any inherent dangers specific to Kuwait, its geology, culture and politics?

  • Ticketing alone will never be enough to reimburse to cost of investment
  • Underground routes will require intensive excavation under residential areas
  • Kuwait has a low water table which is polluted with H2
  • The investment is enormous and the credit crisis has dried up funding
  • The fear of ending up with a system that works but nobody bothers to use
  • Rushing into a badly designed system simply to catch up and compete with regional rivals
  • Automobile dealerships and supporting services will feel threatened by the competition

In the following weeks we here at re:kuwait will attempt to analyze the project and design a solution. The posts will then be aggregated and combined into the Kuwait Metro page accessible in the link shown in the bar above. We hope that whatever insights we discover into the urban potential of this project be used in the real thing should they ever decide to wake up.

Kuwait Metro Map White

This map is just a taste of what’s to come. We will be analyzing every route and interchange and imagining what it would look like in reality with photo-collages and renderings. We hope that you’ll join us in the weeks ahead and be involved with us in any way you can. If we stop complaining and propose solutions we can reinvent Kuwait.

Fuel Subsidies

By | Energy | 4 Comments

Kuwait subsidizes the fuel it sells in our gas stations. The true market value of the petrol we pump into our cars is far higher than what we pay. The government does this to encourage economic growth by lowering energy costs on its citizens and reducing the overall financial burden on families and businesses.

Fuel Subsidies

Countries high on the fuel price list have punitive fuel taxes. This leads to lower consumption and a higher tax revenue. Governments tax fuel for many reasons:

  • Ease traffic congestion
  • Lower overall automobile emissions because of reduced driving demand
  • Reduce dependence on imported oil
  • Tax revenue (which is usually used to maintain roads or finance public transportation projects)

The range between the lowest and highest fuel costs worldwide is astounding; 12 cents to $9.58. It costs 80 times more to buy fuel in Eritrea than in Venezuela.

Kuwait: 250 fils/gal.

United Kingdom: 2.5 KD/gal

A full tank of gas that costs 4KD in Kuwait would cost 40KD in the United Kingdom. This would be an inconceivable amount of money for us to pay for a full tank of petrol, but this is the reality millions of people face all throughout the world.

Countries low on the list subsidize their citizens’ fuel costs. This means that the government sells the fuel to the pumping stations at a loss. What many of us don’t realize is that this supposed benefit brings with it many crippling problems. At the root of them is the artificially heightened demand created by the  subsidization. This means that people are effectively encouraged to be wasteful and consume more than they would otherwise.

Countries that have tried to reduce or abolish existing fuel subsidies have been met with citizen anger and at times violent riots. People feel that it is their governments duty to provide for their citizens, and they do have a right to feel aggrieved when that birthright is stripped away from them; especially when no other transportation alternatives exist.

I would not be surprised to see such riots in Kuwait. A proposal that suggests abolishing the fuel subsidy without having other mechanisms in place to replace it would be met with furious parliamentary retaliation. A more delicate, comprehensive and egalitarian solution must exist that can address all the pertinent issues involved. The ideal solution should do the following:

  • Reward efficient and sustainable behavior
  • Punish wasteful consumption and end harmful habits
  • Reduce traffic congestion
  • Finance effective public transportation
  • Lower automobile emissions
  • Keep relative transportation costs low
  • Encourage a nationwide restructuring of our energy consuming habits

Does such a comprehensive solution exist? If it is theoretically possible, is it economically and politically viable? Who would benefit from any changes to the current system and who would rather keep things just the way they are?