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Drivers infuriated by shortage of affordable fuel
Published in Daily News Egypt on 21 - 07 - 2008

CAIRO: Taxis queued in front of gas stations across Cairo as the congested city suffered a shortage of 80-octane and diesel fuel, a crisis that reached its peak last week.
"I have to stay in queues for two hours or more, and sometimes I do not even find fuel available for my car, said Hussein Soliman, a taxi driver.
More and more taxi drivers as well as private car owners are resorting to 80-octane (LE 0.90 per liter) after the recent price hikes of gasoline 90 and 92, where the former increased from LE 1.30 to LE 1.75 per liter and the latter from LE 1.40 per liter to LE 1.85 per liter.
"It is really hard to find 80-octane now, and we can't afford to use gasoline 90, said Hussein.
Hussein explained that failure to fill up on 80-octane determines whether he will pick up passengers, because their fares will not compensate for the money he paid if he filled up on gasoline 90.
Another taxi driver who preferred to remain anonymous echoed Hussein's concerns. "We can't find [80-octane] and gasoline 90 is almost double its price, he said.
"If I use gasoline 90, all the money I make during the day will go into filling my car's tank, he added.
According to the statistics by the Ministry of Petroleum, the consumption of 80-octane increased by 50 percent since last year.
Moreover, the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation announced earlier that the sales of 80-octane have increased by 17 percent since last year with a rate of 6.5 tons per day.
"Before the increase in fuel prices, 80-octane would remain in the tanks for a long time, now it is used by all taxis as well as private cars, both new and old, said a Misr Petroleum fuel station manager who preferred to remain anonymous. "There are four types of fuel products: gasoline 95, 92, 90 and 80-octane - the latter is given the least priority in production, he added.
He claimed that the traffic authorities advised a lot of gas stations to stop supplying 80-octane because the queues sometimes block the streets, leading to traffic jams, especially in streets where government buildings, like ministries, are located.
He also predicted another increase in fuel prices and the possibility of stopping the production of 80-octane altogether.
However, Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy denied on national television any plans to reduce the production 80-octane and diesel as well as plans to increase the prices of fuel.
Some gas stations and drivers reportedly took matters into their own hands and started mixing 80-octane with gasoline 90 as compromise.


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