A market regulator said gas stations will have their business licenses revoked permanently if they are found holding on to fuel and reducing sales volumes in anticipation of a price hike.
"While the government is considering the timing and the extent of a price hike to make sure it's tolerable, many fuel companies have taken advantage of the situation to hoard fuel," said Nguyen Loc An, deputy head of the Domestic Market Department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Many gas stations around the country have been selling fuel in small volumes over the past two weeks, claiming that there are supply shortages.
But given that fuel importers are required to report to the authorities their business plan for the whole year, he can say for sure that a supply shortage is "impossible," An said.
"I have asked provincial departments of industry and trade to send to the ministry all names of violating gas stations to be considered for license cancellation," he said.
The State Bank of Vietnam on Saturday rejected rumors that local companies could not import fuel due to a shortage of US dollars. The central bank affirmed that commercial banks have provided enough dollars for fuel imports.
News website VnExpress reported on Friday that petrol companies were incurring a loss of nearly VND3,000, or around 15 US cents, for each liter of gasoline they sold.
Nguyen Tien Thoa, head of the Finance Ministry's Price Management Department, said in a VnExpress report on Tuesday that the country's fuel price stabilization fund, used by firms to offset losses, has run out of money.