Tapped-out pipelines cause gas shortage in Mexico

Tapped-out pipelines cause gas shortage in Mexico
FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2014 photo, new pipelines to carry gas from Texas to Mexico, eventually reaching the city of Guanajuato, are laid underground near General Bravo, Nuevo Leon state, Mexico. Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday, Jan. 7, 2019 that he has shut down some pipelines to stop fuel thieves who he says have established an illegal distribution network. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Motorists are lined up for a fourth straight day at gas stations in western Mexico as the government continues to restrict pipeline deliveries to combat illegal fuel taps.

Authorities say attempts to re-open a key pipeline were abandoned after the duct was found to leaking fuel at numerous points from illegal taps.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday that fuel theft gangs have grown so bold — and have so many connections inside refineries — that they’ve been stealing gasoline and diesel directly from plants.

Lopez Obrador said soldiers dispatched to guard depots and refineries found a 2-mile (3 kilometer) long hose leading from a refinery to a tank outside.

Patience in running thin in some cities where gasoline arrives only by tanker truck and many stations have closed.