Africa

Kenyans bypass fuel price hike with cross-border runs to Uganda

Kenyans living near border cutting costs by buying cheaper fuel in Uganda

Godfrey Olukya   | 21.09.2021
Kenyans bypass fuel price hike with cross-border runs to Uganda

KAMPALA, Uganda

Following a hike in petroleum prices in the country, Kenyans seem to have found a way to cut their fuel costs – zooming over the border into Uganda and coming back with a full tank.

The trip only makes sense for Kenyans living along the nearly 800-kilometer (500 miles) border with Uganda, and they have been making the most of the opportunity.

In Uganda, they can buy a liter of petrol for 110 Kenyan shillings ($1), about 30 Kenyan shillings (27 cents) lower than in Kenya.

People from Bungoma and Busia counties, both near the Ugandan border, have been making the drive over in large numbers.

“They come back after refueling at petrol stations in Uganda’s border towns of Busia and Malaba,” said Bob Oundo, an official in the part of Busia that lies on the Kenyan side.

The number of vehicles making the crossing has picked up since last week, when the Kenyan government increased the price of a liter of petrol by 7.10 Kenyan shillings (around 6.5 cents) to nearly 135 Kenyan shillings ($1.25).

The cost of diesel was raised by 9.90 shillings (9 cents) to over 115 shillings ($1.05) and kerosene is now being sold for 110 shillings ($1) per liter.

“We are handling more than 200 vehicles from Kenya every day. It’s not just us; other petrol stations in the area have also seen an astronomical rise in sales,” said Apollo Egesa, manager of a fuel station on the Ugandan side of Busia.​​​​​​​

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