Many gas stations were found Sunday to have illegally hiked gasoline and oil prices, in some cases up to 10% over government-set rates while others limited their sale or even stayed closed altogether.
The tumultuous situation followed recent rumors that petrol price will surge in the coming months.
At the Tu Buol filling station in Hung Dien B Commune, Tan Hung District, Long An Province, diesel oil was sold at VND15,700 (US$0.76) per liter while the official price is just VND14,750 ($0.71).
Nguyen Van Thanh, a local, said that he wanted to buy 70 liters to run his combine harvester but the station capped the sale at 30 liters.
A92 gasoline was sold at VND18,000 ($0.87) per liter at the same station in the southern province, a VND1,600 ($0.08) difference over the official rate or nearly 10% higher.
Locals revealed that Tu Buol, together with the nearby Tam Dung station, have illegitimately pushed their prices up for two days already.
Another petrol station named Huu Nguyen in Tan Hung District yesterday oozed gasoline at VND17,500 ($0.85) per liter to customers.
Long An’s Market Management Unit No 2 said they had inspected the three stations and would fine them soon.
Petrol agents have complained they just received 60-70 percent of the volume they had asked for from petrol providers, Dang Van Lop, director of the Long An Department of Industry and Trade, said.
Many gas stations in the southern province of Kien Giang also remained closed yesterday.
Petrol stations in southern Dong Nai Province limited their operations with merely one or two gas station attendants on duty.
Many alongside national roads in southern Binh Duong Provice hung signboards reading ‘closed due to power outage.’ Some operated but capped their sale at VND30,000 ($1.45) worth of petrol for each motorbike.
In Lam Dong Province’s Da Lat city, many filling stations did not open yesterday, encouraging the black market for the fuel to thrive.
One man made a lot of money by selling gasoline at VND20,000 ($0.97) per liter right at the temporarily closed Hong Hung petrol station on Phan Dinh Phung Street.
At the Tiep Tien filling station in Lam Ha District of the same province, each customer could only buy VND30,000 ($1.45) worth of petrol at the most.
“We do want to sell more to our customers but we cannot because supply is limited,” Tran Thi Tiep, the station owner, told Tuoi Tre.
Up north, one reader from northern Ninh Binh Province told Tuoi Tre that she had already visited 6 stations before managing to refill her bike.
A market management official in Nghe An Province warned they will levy heavy fines on the four private-owned filling stations that had illegally increased their petrol prices. They are all in Do Luong District, including Vinh Thanh, Le Binh, Tinh Nam, and Quang Minh.
Petrol prices are strictly controlled by the Vietnamese government.