Petroleum scarcity is now looming in Akure, Ondo State following the increase in its price and the refusal of many gas stations to sell the product to motorists and other consumers in the town.
The scarcity of the petroleum product, known as Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), is also creating palpable fear among the residents of the town, who are now lamenting over claims of its non-availability at major gas stations.
A SaharaReporters correspondent who is monitoring the fuel situation in Ondo State reported that consumers are now struggling to buy the product at any cost.
SaharaReporters revealed on Thursday that some gas stations in the state now sell PMS at N200 per liter, which is outrageously above the government regulated pump price of the product.
Other gas stations visited by SaharaReporters, however, refused to sell PMS to motorists, mostly commercial vehicle owners, as they preferred to hoard the product.
Our correspondent reported that the attendants of these gas stations along Alagbaka axis, Oba Adesida, Oyemekun, Ilesa Garage and Aule roads shut down their gates, telling potential customers that they had no fuel.
Specifically, Total Filling station, MRS petrol station, Cono Oil and Font Oil, all along the above-mentioned routes, claimed they had no fuel and were waiting for an upcoming delivery.
An independent marketer who spoke to a SaharaReporters correspondent in anonymity said that the cost of lifting the product and transporting it from Lagos to Akure was too costly.
"I am sure that some other filling stations have the product in Akure, but they are deliberately hoarding it from the consumers. They have foreseen its scarcity in neighboring towns and are now selling it at around N200 per liter, and even have plans of raising the price even higher.
"And for those who don’t have the product, it is because the rate of lifting the fuel from Lagos to Akure is costly; somewhere between N144 and N150," he said.
To compensate for the hike in the fuel price, some commercial motorists in Akure are now charging higher fares to transport passengers.
The scarcity of the product and high cost of transport is already inconveniencing residents, as many now trek long distances to reach their various destinations.
"I had to trek from Isikan road to Oba Adesida early this morning because I couldn't get a bike that would pick me for N50. I can't get a taxi, either," a resident lamented.
Similarly, business ventures, salons, restaurants, hotels, and bars in the town are now grappling with the scarcity of fuel and its implications on their businesses.
Some of these businesses have consequently shut down their electric generators due to the shortage of petrol in their engines, causing customers to leave in anger.
"We can't put on the generator for more than five hours, as opposed to the twenty-one hours that we are used to, because the product is now scarce everywhere in the city," an hotelier told our correspondent.
A motorcyclist, Ayo Adedayo, told a SaharaReporters correspondent that he bought a liter of petrol at the rate of N200 at the far end of the town.
"The one inside my Okada (motorcycle) was bought from Ilara Mokin yesterday night at the rate of N200 per liter.
"We were even begging them to sell to us because the manager claimed they were not selling fuel. Later he said their pumps were out of fuel,” Mr. Adedayo said.