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Cairo fuel shortage causes long lines at gas stations

Amr Nabil / AP

Vehicles, at left, line up in front of a gas station in Cairo, Egypt on Fruiday. An acute fuel shortage in Egypt has disrupted Cairo's already congested traffic, with long lines of vehicles snaking around gas stations, and drivers spending the night in their cars.

Amr Nabil / AP

People stand near their cars as they line up in front of a gas station in Cairo.

The New Straits Times reports that the reason for the fuel shortage isn't clear:

Petroleum Minister Abdullah Ghorab flatly dismissed talk of a shortage, saying fuel supplies exceed demand. He said the crisis stems from “mistrust between the government and the citizens,” according to the state-run MENA news agency. 

Another Petroleum ministry official, Hani Dahi, was also quoted by MENA as saying that there is “a rise in the illegal use of fuel” and calling for tighter security measures to prevent black market dealers selling subsidised fuel at higher prices.

However, the manager of one gas station in Fayoum, a city south of Cairo, put the blame squarely on the government’s shoulders and its stewardship of the economy. “I used to get a daily supply of 30,000 liters (7,900 gallons) of diesel, now I get 13,000 every three days,” said the manager, who asked not to be identified. “Any talk about smuggling is a sheer lie because if there is enough fuel in the market, none would buy from the black market.”