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Thursday, January 21, 2010

At The Gasoline Station

Many of the gasoline stations here have familiar names.

But one of the more popular brands seems to be the CO-OP.


And I couldn't help but notice that there are times when the local CO-OP station has very long lines - many of the vehicles being the older black and white taxis.  It took a while to find out why.

Gasoline here is available in 90, 92 and 95 octane ratings.  The 90 octane runs about 1.5 Egyptian pounds per liter.  (I say "about" because I have been told 1.3, 1.5 and 1.6 by friends in the past two weeks while a published report quoted 1.75 - nothing is black and white here except the taxis!) The prices are set by the government.  That translates to about $1.04 per gallon.  But there also is 80 octane gasoline available.  The price for that is only 1 Egyptian pound per liter or 70 cents per gallon.  CO-OP is one of the two government run suppliers for fuel.  When a batch of 80 octane is available, word gets around.

Aha!  That's why our taxi drivers frequently pull into a station and add gas.

This report from EgyptOil-Gas reports that current government subsidies for gasoline prices are running about a billion dollars a month.  This report from about a year ago says that 80-octane gasoline has increased to about a 45 percent share of the market.  Imagine that, subsidizing a product to keep the price low results in increased demand.  Who'da thunk it!

Of course, 80-octane gas might just blow the heads off any engine higher powered than a 1970 Russian Lada.  But that's probably best left for discussion on someone else's auto-blog.

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