China Runs Low on Gas

Shortage spreads to Beijing, Shanghai; government, which controls price, urges calm
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2008 2:08 PM CDT
A Chinese truck driver is seen in a back mirror while waiting outside a Sinopec gas station in Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang province, March 24, 2008.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – China may be running on less-than-full tank again as gasoline and diesel shortages spread to Shanghai and Beijing, the AP reports. Long lines are a common sight outside filling stations, which have been plagued by erratic shipments. “We have no diesel available at all,” said one gas station worker. “Once it comes, it will soon run out.”

In Beijing, until now a safe haven from gas troubles, 20 stations said they were rationing fuel or had stopped selling it altogether. Driving the shortages are gas prices, which the government fixes at below-market rates. Refiners want those prices raised, but officials say stability should help alleviate shortages, because consumers shouldn’t have to panic and horde fuel.