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Drivers rush to tank up amid oil price hike rumor
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Many drivers in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, queued up for oil Thursday evening after hearing rumors of an oil price hike, local New Express reported.


Drivers in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, queue outside a Sinopec oil station at 23:00 on Thursday, July 31, 2008. A rumor doing the rounds on Thursday afternoon said the price of oil would be hiked from Friday, New Express reported. [Photo: xkb.com.cn] 

The rumor, that went around on Thursday afternoon, said oil prices would rise from Friday morning. It was said that the No.90, No. 93, and No.97 oil would be raised to 7.22 yuan, 7.91 yuan, and 8.55 yuan per liter respectively, while the No. 0 diesel oil would climb to 8.32 yuan per liter.

Many drivers were shocked by the rumor since the last hike in oil prices took place just a month ago.

Also, crude oil prices have been falling recently. On Thursday, crude oil prices slid more than 23 dollars a barrel from the record 147.27 dollars a barrel in July.

A local driver surnamed Gao said the rumors were incredible and thought another oil price hike would not help with social stability.

In spite of the fact most drivers doubted the rumors, many still rushed to oil stations to fill their tanks on Thursday evening in case of a price hike the next day.

A cashier at one oil station said that they had not received notice of a price hike by Thursday afternoon. She said the rumor boosted business at the station.

The head of energy division of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Han Wenke said Thursday evening that the government has no plan to raise oil prices in the run up to and during the August Olympics.

Also, a Sinopec insider told the New Express that no such news was heard.

The head of Oil Department of Guangdong Oil & Gas Association (OGA) Yao Daming said he was not sure about the rumor. Although Yao was told by Sinopec and PetroChina that there was no notice about the price rise, he said a price rise was announced the previous month without any prior notice.

An adjustment in oil prices will be made by the newly-established National Energy Administration. The change makes it difficult to predict changes in oil prices by the government, Yao said.

(1 dollar = 6.8 yuan)

(CRI August 1, 2008)

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