Fuel Problems in Uzbekistan in September and October

In September in Uzbekistan things grind to a halt. This is because of the cotton, a legacy from soviet times and referred to as the white gold of Central Asia.

Essentially as an overlander travelling in Uzbekistan in September/October, what you need to know is that the government pull all able bodied workers from their normal employments and stick them into the fields to undertake the cotton harvest. More problematically for us, they also buy up all of the fuel and stop sending the tankers to supply the north-western half of the country with fuel.

The fuel stations shut and if perchance they do get a delivery and open the queues will be three cars wide and a mile long.

Sadly your only option is the black market where you will pay twice the price for a much poorer quality of fuel – we worked out that it was 65 octane. Finding the black market involves luck in asking the right people, a lot of people could not tell us at all but eventually one of the museum workers took pity on us and led us to his friends house who supplied the petrol in 5l cooking oil bottles.

A warning to others: The 65 octane fuel caused our engine to make the most alarming of rattles and we had to adjust the timing significantly.

Happily from Samarkand we were able to buy legitimate 80 octane fuel from petrol stations and had no other problems getting fuel to the Tajikistan border.

NB: we are a petrol vehicle, cant be sure of the facts for diesel but LPG seemed to be commonly available.image

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