The Zimbabwe Fuel Crisis of 2018 was a shortage of Petrol and Diesel that occurred from the beginning of September 2018 to the end of October 2018 and then again from mid-November onwards. At the end of October 2018, the crisis ended after the government negotiated fuel supply agreements with Sakunda (part of the Tafigura Zimbabwe operations), Engen Zimbabwe and Total Zimbabwe. However, less than a month after the government intervention fuel shortages resumed.

In December Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) acting chief executive officer Eddington Mazambani revealed to Parliament that the country had exhausted the $60 million worth of fuel imported end of November.[1]

In Zimbabwe fuel is distributed mainly through the National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe parastatal.

A long fuel queue in Harare in November 2018


Zimbabwe's Fuel Needs

September 2018

April 2018

Zimbabwe's Main Fuel Retailers

Alleged Causes


In September of 2018 to October, the shortages of fuel resulted in some long-winding queues at some fuel stations around the country with the Harare being the hardest hit due to a higher volume of vehicles. Between October and November, the RBZ released US$17 million in two weeks to critical sectors but admitted that the figure was not enough to meet the country’s foreign currency needs. The government took strides to curb the fuel shortages through banning the use of Jerry Cans to buy fuel, it was believed that the government's move was meant to control hoarding of fuel. Joram Gumbo said jerrycans were promoting hoarding, and he threatened to revoke licences of petrol service stations found using them.

Said Gumbo:

Those using tanks, drums and jerrycans – all those forms of containers should stop and we are sending out inspectors and the Zimbabwe Republic Police, If anybody is going to be found maybe overcharging or using drums, they will have their licences withdrawn. We are not going to allow that

Shortages Resurfacing

In Mid November of 2018, the fuel shortages resurfaced again as evidenced by the long and winding ques at fuel stations.

In an interview with The Herald, Energy and Power Development Minister Joram Gumbo said the unending queues for fuel are evidence that there is indeed fuel in the country.He said fuel companies are getting 4,1 million litres of diesel per day and 3,8 million litres of petrol a day.

Effects of the shortage

In Manicaland Province, some ambulances in the province were reportedly grounded due to the crippling fuel shortages. In Bindura it was reported that motorists went for about two weeks without fuel between late November and early December. Victoria Falls, experienced acute fuel shortages and black market dealers took advantage of the crisis to sell the commodity at exorbitant prices.Hotels Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) chairperson Farai Chimba said the shortages were similar to killing the goose that lays the golden egg and were likely to impact on tourism revenue during the festive season.[2]

Black Market

The shortage resulted in the growth of the black market where the fuel was being sold at higher prices. In areas like Chitungwiza, a litre of petrol was being sold for between $5 Bond note to $ 7 Bond note depenf=ding on the supply and demand situation of the day.

Busfare Hikes

The price of busfare rose, in Bindura it was reported that commuter omnibuses were charging $1.50 Bond note over a 3km distance. Chitungwiza to town rose from a $1 Bond note to $2 Bond note over a 27 km distance


  1. No More Fuel In Zimbabwe- ZERA Acting CEO ⋆ Pindula News, Pindula News, retrieved: 7 Dec 2018
  2. Fuel shortages ground tour operators - NewsDay Zimbabwe, NewsDay Zimbabwe, retrieved: 7 Dec 2018