Old photo shows motorists queueing for fuel in Kenya, not in Argentina

  • Published on November 2, 2023 at 16:22
  • Updated on November 2, 2023 at 16:24
  • 3 min read
  • By James OKONG'O, AFP Kenya
Currency woes in Argentina coupled with problems in its refinery industry have led to a major fuel supply crisis, resulting in queues at pumps. A post published on X (formerly Twitter) in Nigeria claims to show an image of cars and people waiting in line at a filling station in Argentina. But this is false: the picture shows congestion at a Shell fuel station in Kenya last year.

"Fuel queues surface in Argentina as FX shortage leaves oil tankers stranded at sea," reads the post published on October 28, 2023.

Screenshot showing the misleading post, taken on November 1, 2023

The accompanying image shows a filling station packed with people and cars. An adjacent road appears to be gridlocked as motorists wait to fill up.

The post on X has been shared more than 100 times.

According to local media reports, Argentina is currently facing one of its most acute fuel shortages in years, which has left many filling stations out of supply and long queues at the pumps (archived here).

The South American country, a major oil and gas producer, has suffered shortages of petrol and diesel since late October 2023 because of a lack of dollars that has delayed imports (archived here).

However, the photo does not show motorists queuing for fuel in Argentina.

Photo from Kenya

A reverse image search found that the photo shows a Shell filling station in Kapsabet, a town located about 310 kilometres from Kenya’s capital Nairobi (archived here).

The photo was credited to the Petroleum Outlets Association of Kenya (POAK) which shared it on X in March 2022 (archived here).

“Situation in Kapsabet. As fuel shortage bites. Multinationals cannot sufficiently supply the country (sic),” reads part of the post’s caption.

AFP Fact Check zoomed in on the photo and identified a Safaricom shop and two United Democratic Alliance (UDA) branded vehicles. UDA is a political party in Kenya founded by President William Ruto. In March last year, the country was in the middle of election campaigns.

Safaricom is a telecommunication company founded in Kenya. It also has a presence in Ethiopia.

The two UDA-branded vehicles and the Safaricom shop marked with red and yellow rectangles

A search on Google Maps confirmed that the image was taken at the Kapsabet Shell filling station. The same Safaricom shop is visible in the background.

Image from Google Maps showing the Shell filling station in Kapsabet

In March 2022, Kenya experienced a major fuel shortage with filling companies exhausting their stock amid cash-flow challenges triggered by dollar shortages (archived here).

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