Tomorrow’s big increase in the price of automotive fuel will probably ensure more illegal tapping of pipelines during the coming year, particularly in Puebla, the state that sees the highest number of pipeline taps in Mexico.
The reason: fuel thieves can offer a steady supply to gas station operators at a more attractive price. And according to a report by the newspaper Reforma, the thieves have guaranteed to maintain their prices in the coming year.
Family members and neighbors of huachicoleros, as gasoline thieves are known, spoke to the newspaper on condition of anonymity. They say thieves sell most of their gasoline wholesale although some is sold at the retail level as well, at a price of just eight pesos per liter.
The retail price of magna gasoline will jump 14.2% tomorrow to an average price across Mexico of 15.99 pesos.
Reforma’s sources warned that if the demand for stolen gas increases after the official prices go up, which would seem likely, tapping into pipelines will have to increase as well.
While the sale of black market gasoline can happen on the side of any given highway, signals and codes are employed to keep authorities at bay and guarantee the security of both buyers and sellers.
On the road to San Sebastián Villanueva in the municipality of Acatzingo, for example, empty and apparently discarded containers mark the spot.
Stolen gasoline can also be purchased in a corridor between the 70 and 80-kilometer marks on the Mexico City-Puebla highway, in San Martín Texmelucan.
Other sellers opt to strategically post signs, informing buyers where they can be found.
When buyers meet up with the huachicoleros, an exchange of codes occurs as protection against arrest.
Another popular spot for sellers of stolen gasoline is the wholesale market at Huixcolotla. There, huachicoleros set up shop among other stands, allowing them to get away quickly if needed.
A region comprising the municipalities of Palmar de Bravo, Tepeaca, Acatzingo, Acajete, Quecholac and Tecamachalco has been identified by authorities as the Red Triangle for the high incidence of gasoline theft.
Source: Reforma (sp)