MEXICO CITY – Authorities say illegal taps drilled into government pipelines by fuel thieves have risen by about 55 percent this year, reaching almost 500 per month.
Fuel theft is skyrocketing despite efforts by the Pemex oil company to make it less attractive, by shipping fuel that lacks final additives through some pipelines.
According to government figures made public Monday, 3,286 clandestine taps were found in the first 11 months of 2014, compared to 5,091 in the same period of 2015.
The thefts averaged 497 taps in the last five months of 2015.
Thieves often use warehouses to hide the taps and stolen vehicles used to transport the diesel and gasoline.
The plan to ship unfinished fuels has been implemented in only some of the nation's pipelines.