Yangon reels from rising fuel costs, shortage scare

A UN truck carrying a drum fed the rumors.
A UN truck carrying a drum fed the rumors.

Yangon’s run on fuel has eased two days after a junta rep denied there was a shortage.

After several days saw drivers line up before dawn to stock up on petrol amid skyrocketing prices, junta spokesman Gen. Zaw Min Tun said imported petrol was on its way and urged people not to believe rumors otherwise.

“We have imported enough patrol for domestic use now,” he said.

Despite assurances from the ruling junta this week that fuel supplies were adequate, a run on petrol stations continued for several days in cities including Yangon and Mandalay. 

“The queues at Yangon petrol stations have been long since 4am, and we have been waiting a long time to get it,” a taxi driver from Ahlone Township told Coconuts by phone on Tuesday. “They sell as much as we need. All the cars in the morning got it. The petrol station says it will close at noon, get refilled, and sell again in the evening.”

The regime’s energy ministry denied that there was a shortage, adding that although there was enough oil, fuel quotas were being reduced for civil servants. 

Fears of an impending shortage were fed by purported leaked information from importers, and the announcement that some gas stations would limit their operations.

An image of a UN vehicle carrying an fuel drum added to the sense of urgency.

“Now we need to worry for the United Nations,” one person commented on Facebook.

The fuel scare was yet another anxiety for Myanmar’s people, whose economy has been in free fall since the army deposed the elected administration last year.

“I was told that I could work from home for a few days because of the reduction in staff … as petrol prices rise,” Zayar, a 23-year-old marketing professional in North Dagon Township, told Coconuts.  “Now I have to come to the office on my own.”

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