They have cheap fuel. And they're willing to use it. While sales of SUVs have languished in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, they've increased yearly in oil-rich nations such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, who are generating record revenues from increased oil prices around the world.

And the bigger the better, say car dealers.

"Our business is booming at the moment. It's actually affecting our stock levels. It was the busiest summer in my six years here," said Julian White, who heads sales for Dubai-based 4x4 Motors. "This is the first place I've ever sold cars where no one asks about fuel consumption."

Reasons for SUV purchases are the same as in North America. SUVs like the GMC Yukon and the Nissan Armada are perceived to be safer than smaller vehicles. And SUVs have a certain prestige associated with them - the Porsche Cayenne and the BMW X5 are hot sellers in the UAE. And both preferences are reinforced by the low cost of fuel in the Middle East where gas sells for as little as 83 cents per gallon.


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