Wed, May 28, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Ministry steps up efforts to curb gasoline hoarding

STAFF WRITER, WTIH CNA , TAIPEI

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has asked government agencies to inspect fuel storage facilities at 42 gas stations that have purchased 10 kiloliters more petroleum products per day recently than their daily average for last month, as part of efforts to crack down on illegal gasoline hoarding.

In a bid to forestall any illegal profiteering practices, Minister of Economic Affairs Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) inspected two gas stations in Taipei County on Monday.

During the inspection, he said that the ministry had asked every city and county government, as well as the Fair Trade Commission, to complete inspections of fuel storage conditions at the 42 gas stations this week.

Yiin said that the ministry would not allow any gasoline stations to hoard petroleum products.

He said those caught hoarding would face fines and that CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) would retrieve the hoarded products from those stations.

CPC statistics indicated that in addition to the 42 stations, about 600 filling stations saw an increase of more than 20 percent in the amount of petroleum products they purchased every day from the state company compared with last month.

Yiin was unwilling to disclose the locations and names of the 42 stations, but said that some stations’ average procurement volumes were even double their procurement last month.

The increase in demand does not mean the 42 stations engaged in illegal hoarding, Yiin said, adding that it could be the result of the shift of a large number of customers to CPC’s contracted stations following price hikes by its private competitor, Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化).

CPC has not raised its prices since last November despite skyrocketing global prices, as the previous government, which left office on May 20, feared lifting a cap on prices would cause inflation to soar further.

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