Shrinking fuel supplies causing mad scramble
Public bus service may be halted today
By Omar Millán González
UNION-TRIBUNEJune 19, 2008
TIJUANA – Truck and bus drivers experienced a day of chaos in Tijuana yesterday, as they chased a dwindling supply of diesel fuel. Today was shaping up to be even worse.
For weeks, drivers from the United States have snapped up Mexican diesel, which is selling for about 50 percent less than in California.
That has resulted in a shortage of the fuel, and gas stations nearest the border crossings started halting or limiting sales last weekend.
By yesterday, diesel had started to run out at outlying stations
Long lines of trucks and buses, their drivers desperate to buy diesel, formed at those stations still selling the fuel.
Public transportation officials announced that if they could not refuel their buses they would halt service today, a decision that affects at least 750,000 daily riders.
Mexicoach, which previously bought diesel in Tijuana, was now buying it in San Diego, paying significantly more. González said the company had no choice but to raise its fares as well.
Dozens of cargo trucks were stranded along roads south and east of Tijuana after their drivers could not find diesel.
Local officials with Pemex, the national oil monopoly, have refused to comment about the crisis for days. But in Mexico City, its director, Jesús Reyes Heroles, denied yesterday that there was a fuel shortage on the border, the news agency Notimex reported.
Mexican government subsidies keep the fuel price lower than in the United States. A gallon of regular unleaded gas (87 octane) sells for $2.54, premium (91 octane) for $3.19 and diesel for $2.20.
Rationing of diesel began Friday