Egyptians fight and scramble for diesel

The diesel crisis continued to rage yesterday, with drivers in all regions pushing and fighting to fuel their vehicles. Workers at gas stations became involved in wrangles when they refused to provide diesel to drivers, while others sold limited quantities at higher prices.

The crisis caused a traffic jam on the Cairo-Alexandria agricultural road where cars queued in front of gas stations.

In Fayoum, trucks and microbuses stopped still due to the shortage. Owners of gas stations blamed the situation on a delay in receiving their assigned shares of diesel from Cairo. They complained that the quantities they are currently receiving amount to less than 20 percent of their expected shares. The governorate assigned inspectors to each station to monitor the fueling process and to make sure that enough diesel was set aside for bakery owners.

In Gharbiya similar fights erupted, and some drivers tried to benefit from the situation by increasing transportation fees.

In Qalyubiya, traffic was jammed on the agricultural road linking Cairo with Banha, halting the flow of traffic in Qalyoub, Qaha, and Toukh.

In Minya, the black market price for one liter of diesel fuel climbed to 150 piasters. Traffic was also halted with traffic jams forming on the Cairo-Aswan agricultural road. The governor of Minya, Ahmed Dyaa Eddin, convened a meeting with local councils and supply officials to discuss the problem and how to counter the black market trade.

In Monufiya some stations were inactive as drivers gave up working due to the lack of fuel. Mohamed Salah el-Dosouki, a driver, said: "I waited for three hours in front of the gas station in Quesna, but couldn’t get any fuel due to the crowds waiting there, so I went back home."

Moussa Mustafa el-Naggar, a bakery owner, said the shortage was affecting work in all bakeries, especially the production of flour.

Ezzat Hamada, undersecretary for the Ministry of Supply, denied there was a crisis and attributed current conditions to a high demand placed on fuel by farm machinery, with the advent of the harvest season.

Hamada noted that four police reports have been filed against gas stations for manipulating diesel quantities, and 100,000 liters of fuel were seized before they could be put up for sale on the black market.

In Assiut, gas stations were empty of diesel fuel and drivers engaged in verbal exchanges with station workers. Some drivers were forced to carry jerrycans in search of oil. The price for a jerrycan reached LE30.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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