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Gasoline supply problems worsen in Mexico

A general view of a gas distribution center, in Guadalajara, Mexico, 08 January 2019. Fuel scarcity in Mexico worsened today causing long lines at gas stations in several states due to the difficulties trucks have reaching different points of the country from Pemex stations, guarded by military men. EPA-EFE/ Francisco Guasco

A general view of a gas distribution center, in Guadalajara, Mexico, 08 January 2019. Fuel scarcity in Mexico worsened today causing long lines at gas stations in several states due to the difficulties trucks have reaching different points of the country from Pemex stations, guarded by military men. EPA-EFE/ Francisco Guasco

EFE

Fuel shortages in Mexico worsened Tuesday with long queues at gasoline stations in several states due to the difficulties of tanker trucks in getting gas to the entire country from the terminals of state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

In the most affected states - including Guanajuato, Jalisco, Hidalgo, Puebla and Michoacan - vehicles are crowding into the few remaining gas stations, but the problems are beginning to reach the southern portions of Mexico City and there is nervousness throughout the capital.

The situation does not result from a shortage of fuel in the country, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday, but rather from the plan to halt fuel theft launched last December.

The plan changed the way Pemex supplies gasoline to service stations to rely on tanker truck delivery because the pipelines - through which gasoline was normally supplied - have proven to be the easiest points of access for fuel thieves, popularly known as “huachicoleros.”

The ongoing theft of gasoline from the pipelines is one of Pemex’s biggest problems, costing the company 66.3 billion pesos ($3.3 billion) in 2018.

Despite the current difficulties, the fuel supply situation - with 4,900 military personnel deployed at refineries and supply terminals to prevent gasoline theft - will begin to improve starting this Friday, according to Onexpo Nacional, the country’s largest association of service station operators.


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