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Italians are turning to the black market for cheap gas

With costs of roughly $118 to fill one tank of gas, many desperate Italians are looking to illicit sources for their fuel.

Italy black market gas 2012 10 18Enlarge
A vintage Alfa Romeo Sprint Pininfarina attends the Mille Miglia 2010 on May 6, 2010 in Brescia, Italy. As gas prices soar for Italians, many have looked to the black market to provide cheaper fuel. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

Fuel prices in Italy are so high that drivers are turning to the black market to fill up their tanks, Presseurop reports.

As originally reported in La Republicca by journalist Andrea Punzo, black market gas costs a third less than current prices, which have touched rougly 90 euros or $118 to fill an average tank.

Local authorities recently uncovered a cartel of 11 foreign and 25 Italian trafficking 20 million kilos  of gas smuggled through Greece and delivered to the port of Ancona on the Adriatic.

Punzo reports it's already cost the state 40 million euros in lost revenue.

But she adds that 2012 has been an "annus horribilis" for gas in the country: excise duties have increased four times this year, and consumption has fallen by 14 percent compared to a year ago.

"Filling up is like a mortgage," one driver joked to her.

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