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A lineup for gasoline in Michoacán. A lineup for gasoline in Michoacán.

Anger, panic, uncertainty after over a week without gas in Michoacán

Public transportation system in the state capital could collapse by week's end

The gas shortage in Michoacán, which has affected all 320 gas stations in the state, has had a severe impact on public transportation, the economy and tourism, say government officials, one of whom warned yesterday that the situation could become violent.

Monday marked the end of more than a week in which gasoline was in short supply, during which time the state oil company has not given any explanation for the shortage or an estimate as to when the supply will be reestablished, the newspaper El Universal reported today.

José Trinidad Martínez Pasalagua, president of the Transportation Regulation Commission, indicated that 40% of the 6,000 public transportation vehicles in Morelia, the state capital, have had to cease operations and warned that if the shortage continues the transportation system would collapse by the end of the week.

The situation could lead to social unrest, Martínez said.

Economic Development Secretary Jesús Melgoza Velázquez said the cost could run into millions of pesos, especially in lost perishable goods. He added that tourism had also been hit hard.

The situation has generated anger, panic and uncertainty among businesses, public sector workers and motorists. The latter have faced long lineups at gas stations, where they have had to wait for hours.

The shortage began to be felt December 21 and worsened a week later when nine out of 10 gas stations had no fuel, which was still the case yesterday.

“We call upon the public to avoid panic buying and to stay informed about gas stations that are operating until service is reestablished,” Governor Silvano Aureoles Conejo wrote on Twitter.

Security Secretary Juan Bernardo Corona Martínez noted that his department has not yet been affected but said, “We hope that this does not become a theme, because in that case the (security) actions we carry out daily will be severely limited.”

In light of the shortage, the state government has appealed to Pemex to restore service as soon as possible to avoid prolonging negative effects to the citizenry and commerce.

Source: El Universal (sp), La Voz de Michoacán (sp)

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