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Feature: Gas shortage hit Egyptian cities

(Xinhua)

09:48, January 17, 2012

CAIRO, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian drivers who believed their country was undergoing a petrol shortage on Monday flocked to gas stations in several cities such as Cairo, Alexandria and Arish, regardless of the government's pledge of not raising the price.

In Maadi district of Cairo, around 30 cars and trucks queued up at a gas station. Drivers who battled for a better position sat in their cars, sounding horns from time to time.

There was only RON95 petrol sold at 2.75 Egyptian pounds per liter available at this station, while other cheaper types of petrol has been sold out, microbus driver Ibrahim told Xinhua.

"The petrol crisis began a week ago and reasons behind may be attempts to curb the celebration on Jan. 25," said Ibrahim, who waited for two hours to fuel his microbus.

"We also suffered from a diesel crisis in previous months, so this crisis is not the first of its kind," he added.

"There should be a final solution because the country could fall into chaos if there is no petrol," said Ibrahim, who quarreled several times with other drivers during the waiting.

The shortage has forced the closure of many gas stations in Cairo. In Alexandria, gas stations put up the sign of "sorry, no petrol here" at the entrance.

The absence of RON80 and RON90 petrol revived the black market, where drivers flocked to fuel regardless of the prices. Alexandria police intensified inspection campaigns to prevent the monopoly and confiscated trucks collecting RON80 petrol in the governorate.

"I knew that there is a petrol crisis since last Thursday, and I waited for an hour to fuel," said Laila, a car owner.

The crisis could be caused by two reasons, namely the increase of consumption and the spreading of rumors, an official of the Ministry of Petroleum told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

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