Hanoi – Motorists in southern Vietnam are being shortchanged at the pump as more and more petrol stations are cheating customers, state news reported Saturday. Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science and Technology estimated that customers are being cheated out of 32 million dollars a year, the report said.
Much of the fuel losses occur because the petrol is adulterated or substandard, Vo Viet Ha, a city inspector told a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday.
Police recently cited 11 petrol stations accused of selling adulterated fuel but they say it is difficult to track down distributors because stations get their supplies from multiple sources, the Thanh Nien newspaper reported.
Customers are also being cheated on the amount of fuel they put in their tanks. Increasingly sophisticated gadgets make tampering with meters relatively easy. The devices can be quickly removed when inspectors show up.
In most cases, police only slap fines on those caught adulterating fuel or tampering with meters, which experts at the conference said was not enough to deter violators.
Despite the fact that global fuel prices have fallen by more than half, from a high of 147 dollars per barrel in July, the price per litre in Vietnam has only decreased by 7 per cent.
Prices at the pump are still 20 percent higher than they were earlier this year. Importers say they have to keep prices high because they took huge losses when global fuel prices skyrocketed.