Safety features don’t work very well if the car is out of gas. And if you want to keep buying gas at lower prices, now is the time to sign up for your fuel smart card. In an attempt to reduce fuel subsidies and prevent fuel from being diverted to smugglers or the black market, the government is launching a smart-card system for fuel purchases. Drivers will need the card when purchasing fuel from gas stations at the subsidized price; without it, the price at the pump will be considerably higher.
To request your personal smart card, sign up at www.esp.gov.eg or send a request by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, then and provide the information requested. To register, you need to supply vehicle information from the car license, personal data from your national ID card, and details on how you will pick up the actual smart card — from the Post Office, or through the traffic department where the car license was issued. You will need the smart card registration number to claim your card.
The smart cards can be used at gas stations with Points of Sale (POS) devices. Once the card is inserted in the POS, you should check that the data on screen is correct, in terms of fuel type, quantity, value. If the purchase information is wrong, ask the gas station attendant to correct it before you complete the transaction. If correct, you enter your password to get a receipt. If you discover a mistake after you enter your password, get the attendant to cancel the transaction and redo the process with the correct data. You then pay for your purchase in cash.
This is the second phase of the smart card rollout, after 400 gas stations were equipped with POS devices during Phase I. The ministries of petroleum and finance hope that the smart card system will reduce fuel shortages and cut fuel subsidies by LE 36 billion yearly, freeing up that money for other basic services such as education, health and transportation.
At press time, the Ministry of Petroleum reported that 1.3 million people had registered for the cards. A deadline had not yet been set for the smart card registration process.