By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
As part of his ongoing war against fuel theft, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced on Monday, Jan. 21, that his government has signed contracts to purchase 571 oil tankers from the United States.
The new tankers, which cost $85.4 million, will have a combined capacity to transport up to 116,897 barrels of fuel, increasing the state-run oil company Petróleos Mexicanos’ (Pemex) overall highway distribution capacity to 200,000 barrels.
The president made the announcement of the tanker purchases during his routine early morning press conference at the National Palace, during which his government also announced the current tally of dead (now at 89) as a result of the Friday, Jan. 18, gasoline duct explosion in Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo.
In late December, AMLO launched a nationwide campaign to curb huachicoleo (gasoline theft), which costs Pemex at least $3 billion a year.
The campaign included the shutdown of at least six major pipelines and the substitution of tankers as a means of gasoline distribution.
Notwithstanding, a shortage of tankers and inadequate highway infrastructure has led to severe shortages of gasoline in at least seven states, including Hidalgo, which lies just north of Mexico City.
Many critics of the president have said his anti-huachicoleo campaign was responsible for the deaths at the Tlahuelilpan explosion, which was caused by an illegal tap of the Tuxpan-Tula duct, where hundreds of locals were collecting gasoline as it spurted out of the breach.