By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
While gasoline shortages in some parts of Mexico – particularly in Mexico City – caused by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) all-out offensive to stop fuel thefts at any cost – have finally begun to subside as a fleet of guarded tankers begins to meet demand, Guanajuato Governor Diego Sinhué Rodríguez Vallejo has decided to take a different approach to solving local fuel scarcities.
The maverick, all-business, dyed-in-the-wool conservative National Action Party (PAN) governor of the central Mexican state, who took office last September, announced on Monday, Jan. 14, that rather than wait for the federal government to start supplying sufficient quantities of gasoline to the state – where nearly 80 percent of gas stations have closed down and lines for fill-ups can still take up to six to eight hours – Rodríguez Vallejo has decided to find an alternative source of the precious liquid.
Instead of continuing to appeal to AMLO to renew normal gasoline distribution in the state, which was cut off when federal Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) ducts connecting the state to refineries were closed at the state of the month, Rodríguez Vallejo said he will ask the suppliers in the United States to provide gasoline to the state.
Although many have pointed out that the idea is not a very practical solution to the problem, given the fact that getting all the necessary government permits for gasoline imports would entail a complex paper trail of at least three months, the announcement did spark a positive response from many AMLO critics.
“We are not proposing that the state purchase the fuel,” Rodríguez Vallejo said, as he prepared to head to Houston by plane.
“The gas would be bought by private-sector stations. We are just opening the door to discussions on the topic.”
The governor went on to explain that transnational corporations would be responsible for the imports and the imported gasoline would be transported via train.
Rodríguez Vallejo noted that several international companies already have permission to import fuel, which would cut the amount of red tape needed to get the process going.
He also pointed out that Shell is currently importing gas to Mexico, as is Mobil.
Some critics of AMLO have said that Guanajuato was targeted, along with several other states run by governors that do not belong to the president’s left-leaning National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party, but the federal government has denied this allegation.
Guanajuato currently has the sixth-largest economy in the nation (right behind Mexico City, the State of Mexico, Nuevo León, Jalisco, and Veracruz) and boasts the fastest-growing manufacturing sector, particularly in the automotive industry
Many analysts have warned that a prolonged gasoline shortage could seriously damage the state’s booming economy.
But AMLO’s administration has accused Guanajuato of being the largest consumer of illicit fuel, with as much as 80 percent of the gasoline previously sold in the state coming from huachicoleros, or gasoline pirates.