While the U.S. is precariously close to running out of diesel fuel, gas stations in Ho Chi Minh City have been forced to close due to widespread fuel shortages across Vietnam.
The two main factors that have led to the Vietnamese gasoline shortage are government price controls along with a decrease in profits among gasoline distributors. In response to the crisis, the Vietnamese government ordered two domestic refineries to increase output to the maximum amount possible in mid-October. Refineries were also asked to expedite the delivery of fuel to distributors across the country.
The Vietnamese government has imposed a cap on gasoline prices that has caused distributors to struggle with soaring fuel prices as they cannot pass those rising costs along to the stations they supply. Since the beginning of October, hundreds of gas stations in Ho Chi Minh City and other southern Vietnam regions have had to intermittently close as they have had no gas to sell. While the government is finally reacting and calling for amped-up production from refineries, the move appears to be too little too late.
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Additionally, almost half of the country’s demand for gasoline comes from Ho Chi Minh City in the southern part of the country and there are a limited number of refineries in the area making it all but impossible to keep up with the demand.
Further north in the capital of Hanoi, long lines are forming at gas stations as locals scramble to fill up their tanks and additional cans as fear of the shortage has spread. With much of Vietnam relying on motorcycles and scooters for transportation, the impact of an ongoing gasoline shortage could bring many cities across the country to a grinding halt if a resolution is not found soon.