Gas Rationed in Villa Clara to Deal with Cuba’s Fuel Crisis

Restrictions on gasoline purchases have remained in place for several years. (Vanguardia)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 6 March 2023 — Sales of gasoline are being limited to thirty liters per automobile at service centers in Villa Clara according to Yudit Hernandez Carrazanathe, coordinator of Governmental Programs and Objectives, in an interview with local broadcaster CMHW. The measure takes effect immediately and applies to all gas stations in the province.

The decision to ration gas is an attempt to address the critical fuel shortage. The so-called motonetas (motorized tricycles or motorcycles outfitted with compartments for carrying cargo or passengers) may only buy twenty liters while motorcycles will have to get by on ten.

Though Hernandez did not say if customers will have to wait a certain period of time before buying more gas after the allotted amount has been purchased, a local driver who uses his vehicle as a taxi told 14ymedio, “The lines at the gas stations are so long that no one can buy more than once a week.”

“I would have to quit work to spend all my time in line buying the gas I need to transport passengers,” he says. “If I do that, I may as well turn in my taxi license because I won’t have time to drive people  around.”

Hernandez added, “Filling other containers with gasoline at service stations is also prohibited except in special cases authorized by local governments, which may allot five liters of gasoline to owners of electric generators.”

This raises the ire of customers who use gasoline for other activities. “If I’m painting and I need a little bit of gas, do I have to ask the local government for permission?” asks one person on CMHW’s Facebook page.

“The only thing left to ration is the air we breathe. Everything else is already either unavailable or in short supply,” writes another, who adds that she intends to buy a horse to get to work because “this is going cause taxi fares to shoot up.”

“Then why are we wasting gasoline on election campaigns if all the parliamentary representatives are already elected?” asks yet another.

Restrictions on gasoline purchases have remained in place for several years. Officials have justified the measure not as a response to fuel shortages but as a way to assure a consistent supply.

This week, long lines to buy gas stretched several blocks leading to the few stations in Havana that were still selling it. Although officials have not announced any restrictive measures in the capital, 14ymedio observed dozens of drivers who had been waiting in line since dawn to buy gas at the service center on the corner of Infanta and San Rafael streets.


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