On a recent trip to some tourist sites in different locations around the Jambi Province, we noticed that every single SPBU—Stasiun Pengisian Bahan Bakar Umum—public refueling station) was either empty, or the lines of vehicles waiting for fuel were extremely long. We have seen this same occurrence every time we travel around the province. The signs; “Solar Habis” (diesel empty), or “Bensin Habis” (gas empty) are all too common.
When we arrived in the City of Muara Bungo we noticed that the June 30, 2011 edition of the newspaper “Muara Bungo Tebo” had an article about this problem, so we read it, but it gave no clear indication as to why these gas stations are always empty. The reporter / writer of the article didn’t thoroughly dig up information, they only reported that several of the workers at the government owned gas stations didn’t know why the refueling stations are frequently empty. The article also stated that if these gas stations get fuel in the early morning hours, they are empty again by 10:00 am.
One reason the lines are long is because when fuel is available, people seeking business opportunities will bring truck loads of containers and buy up large amounts of fuel to later sell it along the sides of roads, at an inflated price. The cost of gasoline per liter at a gas station is Rp. 4,500. If you buy it along the sides of the roads it can cost up to Rp. 8,000 per liter.
This post is a warning to those traveling around the province; either bring additional fuel with you, or be prepared to pay the extra cost.
The City of Jambi always has fuel. The problem exists outside the city.
Below is a video we made of some of the long lines at gas stations.