The scarcity of fuel, especially gasoline and diesel, is one of the aspects of the economic and financial crisis that is still escalating on a daily basis. The quantities of fuel that reach the country are less than the needs of the market and internal consumption, and gasoline has become like a “panadol pill” that is taken to relieve pain. The market is thirsty and in dire need, and the stock of stations is significantly low.
Syndicate of Station Owners’ Syndicate member, George Al-Braks, confirmed to Sawt Beirut International correspondent, Ghida Jbeili, that “Yes, ships arrived during the weekend and even earlier. Gasoline has been distributed since the beginning of the week in the local market, but the quantities are insufficient, and the state is supposed to take this into consideration and ensure sufficient quantities to the stations”, he added that “there are areas where gasoline is not reached at all, such as Akkar and some towns in the south and the Bekaa”.
Here smuggling towards Syria aggravates the economic and living conditions. Smuggling gasoline to Syria achieves huge profits, as the price of a can of gasoline in Lebanon today ranges between 40 and 45 thousand Lebanese pounds, or more than 3 dollars according to the black market exchange rate, while the price of a can of gasoline smuggled from Lebanon ranges between 100 and 140 thousand Syrian pounds, i.e. Between 23 and 25 dollars, according to the exchange rate on the black market. Al-Braks said, “The solution lies with the authority in whose hands the administration of the country, and it must find a solution to open the necessary credits, not only for fuel, as we also have a problem with medicines and hospitals, and I appeal to citizens to stop making problems with the owners of the stations. They are also affected, and I do not know where the crisis will reach, but in the foreseeable future I do not see that we will return to the normal situation.”
Economists believe that as long as fuel prices are subsidized in Lebanon, smuggling operations will continue because the subsidy makes its price in the Lebanese market lower than it is in the Syrian market.