New gas stations putting private sellers out of business
At least four state-owned gas stations are operating in the Ryanggang Province city of Hyesan and two additional stations are set to open soon, raising concerns among independent fuel traders who compete with the stations, Daily NK sources reported on September 6.
“There are more gas stations opening these days, and the trend has caused concerns among independent sellers of gasoline,” a Ryanggang Province-based source said. Daily NK has long reported on the struggle between independent sellers and state-run gas stations.
Two of the stations are in the Songbong and Hyehung districts of the city, while two are in Komsan village. The additional two gas stations will open in Songbon district No. 2 and Yonbong district.
North Korea has shown no signs of gasoline shortages despite some analysis suggesting that the country’s supplies are low due to international sanctions. Regular gas and diesel fuel prices decreased earlier in the year. Although gas prices increased to 15,000 KPW per kilo at the beginning of the year, they now have fallen to around 8 – 9,000 KPW.
“The increase in gas stations has been driven by the rising number of cars on city streets and a wider distribution of gas,” the source said. “Drivers know that gas stations will have stock.” Private sellers of gasoline, however, are facing declining sales, the source said, adding that some of these gas traders are changing to sell other products.” ......