The sight of street-side hawkers of gasoline has returned to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City after several decades, as gas stations continue to report shortages.
A fuel station on Thuy Khue Road in Hanoi’s Tay Ho District has put up a sign that reads “waiting for inventory.” Residents have to look elsewhere to fuel their vehicles.
Near a fuel station on Yen Phu Road in the capital city, a man pours gasoline into containers to sell at VND25,000-30,000 ($1.01-1.21) per liter, 10-32% higher than retail prices at gas stations.
As people queue up at a gas station on Yen Phu Street, a woman walks around gasoline from a plastic bottle. “It’s quicker. No need to queue,” she says.
In the capital city’s Ba Dinh District, a makeshift fuel stall has been functioning for the last several days on Hang Bun Street, near a fuel station. A woman can be seen carrying a bottle of gasoline to sell to customers.
Many such sellers can be seen in the districts of Dong Da, Ba Dinh and Tay Ho.
Nguyen Chung, a tech company employee, paid VND30,000 for a liter of gasoline from one such seller after failing to find a fuel from four gas stations.
“I am concerned because I don’t know the quality of the gasoline. But as my vehicle was out of fuel, I had to buy a liter.”
As gasoline stations of private companies ran out of fuel, buyers thronged state-owned stations.
State-owned distributor Petrolimex, which has a 50% share of Vietnams’ fuel market, said that its retail volume has increased by 26% amidst the ongoing shortage.
The company is pressing 40-50 more fuel tankers into service during high-demand hours.
Petrolimex estimates it will make the highest monthly supply at 1.16 million cubic meters this month, or 140% of the target it has been given by the government.
In Ho Chi Minh City, makeshift stalls selling gasoline have sprung up on Mai Chi Tho Road or Hanoi Highway.
Cam, a vendor, bought gasoline at a station for around VND22,000 per liter and is selling it at VND28,000, or 27% higher. She sells about 10 liters a day.
In Thu Duc City, Huong on Mai Chi Tho road sells a liter at VND30,000. “Some customers have to walk their bike and they don’t have cash with them. I still sell to them after they promise to pay me tomorrow.”
Nearly 10 makeshift stalls can be seen on the 8-kilometer long Mai Chi Tho Road.
Several gas stations in Thu Duc City were out of inventory Saturday morning.
Gasoline trucks on the Hanoi Highway Saturday morning.
Vietnam’s fuel market has seen many disruptions in recent months, with retailers saying they are selling at a loss as rising transportation costs are not reflected in retail prices.
A senior executive of a fuel distributor with 20 stations in Hanoi said that he was not holding back inventory. He did not have enough stock because buying from suppliers had become difficult, he said.
He said has been losing VND2 billion ($80,400) a month for several months now. “The suppliers say their supply has reduced, so we also have to wait.”