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Gas prices are on the rise in Egypt... or are they?

Rumors of an impending fuel shortage send Egypt drivers to the pumps in droves. But are they making it worse?
Egypt oil shortageEnlarge
An Egyptian worker fills a customer's car tank at a petrol station in Cairo amid fears of an oil shortage. (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Long lines at gas stations, fights between drivers, and black market prices. Where has Egypt's fuel gone?

Rumors of a looming gas shortage apparently prompted drivers across the country to bombard their local fuel stations and hoard the precious fuel over the weekend. Today, in some of Cairo's most crowded areas, lines for the pumps stretched around the block or even obstructed traffic. 

Reuters reports:

The shortages have prompted speculation that the government, which has asked the International Monetary Fund to help plug a gaping budget deficit, may be using a tactic to prepare people to pay more for fuel and rein in subsidies that weigh on state coffers.

According to AP

Wael Ziada, head of Egypt research at Mideast investment bank EFG-Hermes said whatever the root cause of the crisis, it could "become a self-fulfilling prophecy" in which prices rise solely in response to the rumors [...]

We should probably all give up when Reuters says that even "gasoline station managers are puzzled." 

More from GlobalPost: Egypt's fuel shortages cause panic, hoarding