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Mexico completes purchase of 670 fuel trucks as shortages continue across several states

Mexico City — The Mexican government said Thursday it had closed the purchase of 670 distribution trucks as fuel shortages continue in several states amid its fight against fuel theft.

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The trucks will be able to move 144,000 barrels of refined products, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in a webcast press conference.

"The expedited purchase of the trucks will help greatly help us over the coming months," Lopez Obrador said.

The total cost of the trucks is $92 million. The first 58 vehicles will be delivered in the coming days, 140 will arrive in February and the full fleet will be in Mexico by the end of March.

The government is looking to reinforce Mexico's fuel logistics system in an effort to avoid disruption amid pipeline shutdowns aimed at fighting gasoline siphoning.

Pemex only has 1,400 fuel trucks with a combined capacity of 176,000 barrels. Trucks moved 12% of Mexico's refined products in 2017 and pipelines 76%.

Several states in western-central Mexico continue to see acute fuel shortages after the government began shutting down pipelines on December 27 to fight theft.

According to the government of Guanajuato, only 30% of the 600 retail stations in the state are operational, although that is twice the number of stations that were open a week earlier.

The situation in Guanajuato has improved as more retail station owners have begun importing their fuel via rail from Texas, according to the state government.

In Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city, only 15% of the city's 500 retail stations were open, according to Enrique Alfaro, governor of the state of Jalisco.

According to the government of Michoacan, only 20% of the 350 stations in the state are open.

Meanwhile, in the Valley of Toluca in the state of Mexico, only 30% of the 193 retail stations in the region are open, according to the local government.

-- Daniel Rodriguez, daniel.rodriguez@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, newsdesk@spglobal.com