World: Long gas lines, price hike mar holiday season in Mexico - - PressFrom - US
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World Long gas lines, price hike mar holiday season in Mexico

23:20  31 december  2016
23:20  31 december  2016 Source:   msn.com

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — The holiday season has been a little less merry for car owners in Mexico as gasoline shortages in many parts of the country have forced grumbling customers to contend with hours- long lines . A woman walks next to fuel pumps at Pemex gas station in Mexico City, Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The holiday season has been a little less merry for car owners in Mexico as gasoline shortages in many parts of the country have forced grumbling customers to contend with hours- long lines .

A taxi driver fills containers in his trunk with gasoline after waiting for hours at a fuel station in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, late Friday, Dec. 30, 2016. Most of the city's fill-up stations were closed on Friday night because they were out of gas, and drivers waited up to three hours at this pump. On Jan. 1, Mexicans will start paying market prices for gasoline as part of a price deregulation, triggering gasoline shortages in many parts of the country. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) © The Associated Press A taxi driver fills containers in his trunk with gasoline after waiting for hours at a fuel station in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, late Friday, Dec. 30, 2016. Most of the city's fill-up stations were closed on Friday night because they were out of gas, and drivers waited up to three hours at this pump. On Jan. 1, Mexicans will start paying market prices for gasoline as part of a price deregulation, triggering gasoline shortages in many parts of the country. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

MEXICO CITY — The holiday season has been a little less merry for car owners in Mexico as gasoline shortages in many parts of the country have forced grumbling customers to contend with hours-long lines.

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — The holiday season has been a little less merry for car owners in Mexico as gasoline shortages in many parts of the country have forced grumbling customers to contend with hours- long lines . In hard-hit parts like Leon, in Guanajuato state, filling up your tank often means

The holiday season has been a little less merry for car owners in Mexico as gasoline shortages in many parts of the country have forced grumbling customers to contend with hours- long lines .In hard-hit parts like Leon, in Guanajuato state, filling up your t.

In hard-hit parts like Leon, in Guanajuato state, filling up your tank often means driving around from one station to the next just to find one that has fuel.

"It's chaos," said Guadalupe Lopez, a customer service worker in Leon who visited eight stations on a recent day before she finally found a pump that wasn't dry. "One worker told me they had gone a day and a half without supply."

Rumors are swirling of gas station owners purportedly hoarding fuel ahead of a price deregulation that takes effect Sunday, and will let them sell it for as much as 20 percent more. Stories abound of Mexicans stocking up as much as they can before the hike kicks in.

Officials are largely downplaying the problems, citing factors such as pipeline theft, increased holiday demand and unforeseen shipping delays, and have sought to reassure consumers that they're working hard to get the fuel flowing. But even with conditions improved somewhat since Christmas, analysts say a neglected fuel infrastructure is finally catching up with the country, and there's no quick fix in sight.

Protests erupt across Mexico over a sudden spike in gasoline prices

  Protests erupt across Mexico over a sudden spike in gasoline prices The bus packed with holiday travelers ground to a halt. Up the highway, on the outskirts of Mexico City, protesters were blocking the lanes, brandishing sticks, burning debris and waving banners that read: "Enough!" "It's chaos," said the bus driver, looking out at a traffic jam that extended as far as he could see. An hour passed, then five."It's chaos," said the bus driver, looking out at a traffic jam that extended as far as he could see.

The holiday season has been a little less merry for car owners in Mexico as gasoline shortages in many parts of the country have forced grumbling customers to contend with hours- long lines . In hard-hit parts like Leon, in Guanajuato state, filling up your tank often means driving around from one

Mexicans have long been used to low prices at the pump. Mexico expropriated the country's oil industry in 1938 and kicked out foreign oil companies, a move celebrated by Mexicans as a seminal act of sovereignty. Read more: Long gas lines , price hike mar holiday season in Mexico .

Jorge Pinon, an energy expert at the University of Texas, Austin, said Mexico is refining less than 1 million barrels of crude per day this year, down from 1.065 million per day last year. More and more the country is importing its gasoline — about half its current consumption — but state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, lacks adequate distribution and storage capacity.

"We are up against a total collapse of the refining system of Pemex," Pinon said.

As examples, he pointed to tankers backed up in the Gulf of Mexico because the port of Veracruz is a bottleneck for offloading, and said pipelines that carry gasoline to central parts of the country are in poor shape and vulnerable to illegal taps.

Fuel theft is big business for organized crime groups such as the Zetas drug cartel, which has a strong presence in the oil-producing Gulf coast region, and officials estimate it accounts for $1.4 billion in losses per year.

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The gasolinazo – as the price hike is known – came as long queues of cars were already forming at pumps due to fuel shortages, and has led to violent protests.

- A hike in gas prices in Mexico has triggered a gas shortage and is forcing drivers to seek other alternatives, like crossing the U.S. border to fill up Officials in Mexico announced in December their plan to increase gas prices by about 20 percent. Mexico 's president Enrique Pena Neito says the

In mid-December the Mexican Gas Station Owners' Association warned that refineries were not operating at full capacity and imported gasoline was not being offloaded from ship because of delayed payments.

"The entire system of refining and distribution is rotten," said Miriam Grunstein, an energy analyst at Rice University.

Pemex has acknowledged supply deficiencies in four central and western states, though Mexican media reported problems in 13 of the country's 31 states.

That includes San Luis Potosi, where Mexico City resident Ignacio Lanzagorta shot a widely seen video of dozens of vehicles and people with jerry cans on the side of a highway, waiting for their turn at a Pemex station in the town of Salinas de Hidalgo. Lanzagorta told the AP he made the video Monday while driving from the capital to the central state of Zacatecas.

Pemex says tankers have been stranded in the Gulf by bad weather and unable to unload their shipments on time. It also cited the fuel thefts, which force pipelines offline, and said consumer stockpiling and panic-buying only exacerbated the shortages.

Mexican police officer killed amid gas price protests

  Mexican police officer killed amid gas price protests Mexicans held new protests against a gasoline price increase on Thursday after a day of looting left a police officer dead, nearly 250 stores ransacked and 500 people arrested. The officer died on Wednesday after he was hit by a car while "preventing a theft at a service station," the city police department said in a statement.Five other officers were injured elsewhere in the capital. Mexicans have blocked highways and service stations since the government implemented a 20.1 percent increase in premium gasoline prices on January 1.But the demonstrations have been accompanied by looting in several parts of the country.

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MEXICO CITY — Protests and looting fueled by anger over gasoline price hikes in Mexico have led to 6 Epiphany or Three Kings Day holiday . Two people were found dead near looting in the port city of “Keeping gas prices artificially low would mean taking money away from the poorest Mexicans

The federal consumer protection agency announced on Wednesday that it was investigating whether some stations may be hoarding fuel until January, as is widely rumored.

"The problem is that there has not been enough investment in infrastructure for the storage and transportation of fuels, which has increased the risk of shortages," the Mexican government said in a statement debunking "myths" about gasoline that was also retweeted by Pemex. "Going forward, the government will be obligated to increase minimum storage capacity to 15 days of total national consumption."

Pemex executive Carlos Murriet said in recent days that the country currently has six days' worth in storage.

Grunstein called that "ridiculously low" and a sign of short-term thinking by the company.

"With Pemex there is no planning ... and simply fixing small holes ends up being more expensive," she said.

The 2017 price deregulation — part of a broader energy reform passed two years ago under President Enrique Pena Nieto allowing some private investment and ending more than seven decades of state monopoly over the sector — establishes 90 different tariff zones where prices will be allowed to fluctuate.

Officials say it's time for Mexicans to pay market prices for gasoline and longtime subsidies are not sustainable especially with the peso's dramatic fall against the U.S. dollar. Earlier this year, the first gas stations run by companies other than Pemex began operating as part of the reform, on the theory that injecting competition will level the field for consumers. They are still far outnumbered by Pemex stations, however.

Mexico gas protests, looting leave 2 dead, 700 arrested

  Mexico gas protests, looting leave 2 dead, 700 arrested Anger over gasoline prices hikes in Mexico fueled more protests and looting Thursday, and officials said the unrest had resulted in the death of a policeman and a bystander, the ransacking of 300 stores and arrests of over 700 people. The country's business chambers said the combination of highway, port and terminal blockades and looting this week forced many stores and businesses to close and threatened supplies of basic goods and fuel. The scenes of mass lootings came as parents faced the last shopping day to get presents for their children before the Jan. 6 Epiphany or Three Kings Day holiday.

(CNN) A hefty government gas price hike is fueling protests, looting and road blockades in Mexico . Authorities arrested more than 250 people for robbery and acts This is a time of year when Mexicans normally gear up to celebrate Three Kings Day, when children traditionally receive holiday gifts.

But in the dry season in some parts of Mexico it is not excluded short rains. Mexico has a rich historical heritage. It offers the tourists to dive during the ancient Maya and Aztec civilizations, to enjoy the beauty of colonial architecture and grandeur with modern facilities.

In a second phase in 2017, other companies will be also allowed to import and distribute gasoline instead of Pemex handling the entire supply chain.

Pricing will no longer be a government decision but rather "a result of what happens in the market," Treasury Secretary Jose Antonio Meade told Radio Formula on Thursday.

But many Mexicans are skeptical that a dose of capitalism is a good thing for the energy sector, which was nationalized in 1938 and has long been considered part of the national patrimony. Opposition politicians on the left have lent support to calls for protests against the deregulation.

One message that circulated on social media called on people to fill their tanks before New Year's and boycott gas purchases the first three days of the year as a "peaceful revolution."

Pinon said as long as the country suffers from its logistical limitations, Mexicans will be paying "an internal overpricing" at the pumps. "I don't see a near-term solution," he said.

He added that Pemex badly needs restructuring, and Grunstein said the company is weighed down by a powerful and corrupt union that obstructs attempts at reform.

"Anyone saying gas is going to rise because of competition is crazy," Grunstein said. "It will go up because of the lack of competition and lousy management."

___

This story has been corrected to reflect that 1.065 million barrels of crude were refined last year.

Mexicans march against gas price hike, little looting .
A protest against Mexico's 20-percent gasoline price hike turned violent Saturday after a lone protester drove his truck into a line of police guarding a fuel distribution terminal in Baja California. Federal police said seven officers were injured in the incident in Rosarito, near the border city of Tijuana.Video showed the small pickup driving straight into the line of riot police, then backing up and speeding off.Largely peaceful protests against the fuel price increases continued elsewhere in Mexico Saturday, and looting seen earlier in the week largely subsided. But nervousness remained.

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