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Kunming hit by gasoline shortage

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Since late Sunday, Kunming has been suffering from a gasoline shortage that has created long queues of cars at filling stations throughout the city, some stretching more than half a kilometer. The gas shortage is expected to last through the week.

Following on the heels of a recent diesel drought that has been affecting transport across the province, the current gasoline shortage is having a major impact on traffic in Kunming. The majority of filling stations around the city either had little or no 90- or 93-octane gasoline yesterday. Some stations hung up signs saying "no gasoline", while others limited the amount of gasoline that can be purchased per vehicle.

The gasoline shortage has had a trickle-down effect on much of the city. Taxi drivers have seen their profits shrink as they spend more than an hour in line at filling stations. Many Kunming residents who own their own cars are opting to take buses or taxis rather than spend time queuing up. Police have been dispatched to all filling stations in Kunming to maintain order.

According to Kunming media reports, the reason for the gasoline shortage is directly connected to the recent diesel shortage. State-owned gas producer Sinopec has been using distribution pipelines normally used for gasoline to distribute more diesel fuel with the goal of ending the diesel shortage in Kunming and Yunnan. Kunming's current gasoline shortage is expected to last another two to three days.

Update: Kunming media is reporting that the gasoline/petrol situation in the city is "basically resolved" and that there's "no way this will happen again before Spring Festival [Chinese new year]".

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