Change Alley

information, opinion, conversation

Running On Empty

with 3 comments

The Australian reports that China is running out of fuel.
(‘Chinese tiger has nothing in tank‘).

  • Police are guarding petrol stations in several inland provinces to prevent fights, as shortages of petrol and diesel are causing huge queues of trucks, buses and cars.
  • In Kunming, capital of the southwestern province of Yunnan, 1000 trucks are stranded.
  • A truck driver named Li told the Chuncheng Evening News he had been stranded at the Stone Tiger Gate petrol station for three days after searching for fuel in other places, but failing. He said his delivery date was way overdue.
  • Another driver, at Geiju city, said a job that would have taken one day in the past, now took three: one on the road, two queuing for fuel.
  • Nine days ago, a truck driver was reported to have been stabbed to death in central Anhui province after a row about queuing.
  • A few days earlier, at Ezhou in Hubei province, 100,000 people were stranded, unable to get to work, because city buses had run out of fuel.

With economic growth running at 11.5%, China is the second-biggest consumer of oil after the US. Diesel imports in the first nine months of the year were up 46.5%, compared with the same period last year. Inflation is at a 10-year high of 6.5% and the Government is reluctant to let the price of oil ‘float’ in line with international markets. As inflation took off this year, the Government announced it was capping the prices of key commodities it still controlled, including oil, until the end of the year. However, under strong pressure from refiners and distributors, it conceded a 10% rise from this month. This still leaves the price well beyond international levels, and China has to import about half its oil, for which it must pay world prices.

Could good old-fashioned supply and demand act as a brake on China’s runaway growth? Now where did I put that old economics textbook?


Written by Pete Smith

December 1, 2007 at 9:41 am

3 Responses

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  1. > 100,000 people were stranded, unable to get to work, because city buses had run out of fuel.

    There’s a bit of chaos for you. These stories seem to be popping up in the press of late. Kazahstan was another. Things do seem to be getting a little fraught.

    Bet those Prius owners are feeling a little smug on their purchase right now.


    December 1, 2007 at 10:40 pm

  2. Even a Prius has to refuel some time. And there are non-hybrid cars with better fuel economy.

    Pete Smith

    December 2, 2007 at 8:18 am

  3. It could be that US emissions are slightly down as still more industry goes south and over to Asia. When the Soviet empire collapsed so did industrial activity and with it emissions fell.


    December 2, 2007 at 12:20 pm

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