Cars tailgate each other for miles upon miles, all waiting for one single goal: to fill up their gas tanks. This is the current situation in Mexico.
Roughly a month ago, gas stations in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, began to experience supply shortages. These shortages are now occurring across all of Mexico, including five other states and the nation’s capital, Mexico City. Investigators now have concluded that these shortages are all because of fuel theft and crime.
Mexico’s new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, commented how Pemex, the state-owned gasoline company, lost nearly 3 billion dollars worth of fuel to thieves. Obrador and the rest of his government has begun redistributing gasoline from pipelines to trucks and railcars. However, the demand for gasoline by Mexicans outweighs these new distribution methods.
Obrador has taken further precautions, beginning to deploy military forces in order to protect this valuable resource. In one instance the government found a hose roughly two miles long moving gasoline from a source to a refinery, showing how severe the fuel theft problem currently is.
Pemex responded to the current situation involving crime and the lack of gasoline at public stations, stating that, “The theft of gasoline has to end. It’s a direct robbery of national sovereignty. There is enough gas. Nonetheless, to end the crime, we have to take drastic measures that require the support of all Mexicans…It’s a momentary bother for a permanent benefit.”
In Guanajuato, 84 percent of all gas stations are closed to the public, and this trend is similar in many other cities and states.
Manuel Sánchez, the Jalisco state president of the National Confederation of Mexican Transporters, mentioned how the problem only affects gasoline at the moment and that they still have diesel, which is responsible for the function many of public transportation services and even ships used for imports and exports.
If Mexico were to struggle with diesel as well, Sánchez claimed, “[It] would be catastrophic and would not only collapse the transportation industry, but the whole national economy.”
It’s hard to predict where Mexico will stand economically in the months to come. With citizens demanding gasoline to conduct their everyday tasks, it’s only a matter of how Mexico will manage the situation and their problem with fuel theft.
(Sources: CNN, NPR, Mexico News Daily)