Just to fill a tank of gasoline, Venezuelans will need up to ten minimum monthly wages. This is due to the new increase in prices announced by the Nicolás Maduro dictatorship, which will also have to be paid in dollars, or, at the official exchange rate.
On Saturday, May 30th, Maduro announced a variation in gasoline prices for the first time after more than 30 years with subsidized prices. Fuel went from being the cheapest in the world to the most expensive relative to the wages of Venezuelans, who now have to choose between buying food to eat or filling up their tanks.
¿Cómo gastar 20 salarios mínimos de Venezuela en gasolina?
R: Llena el tanque de tu camioneta pic.twitter.com/kwuwnxt1Oj
— Arnaldo Espinoza (@Naldoxx) June 1, 2020
Consumers will have to pay at least 20 USD for a 40-liter tank and 30 USD for a 60-liter tank at any of the 200 service stations in the country. Currently, the minimum wage in Venezuela is 800,000 bolivars, which is equivalent to approximately four American dollars.
If you fill a 40-liter tank of an average vehicle, it will cost you 3,962,211 bolivars. You will need ten months of the minimum wage to fill this tank with gasoline.
ALERTA La perspectiva de mucha gente con $ en las manos y expuesta en las calles para surtirse de gasolina es muy tentadora para el hampa. Ya reportan algunos incidentes en el este de Caracas. Lleve solo montos necesarios, o use dinero plástico.
— Javier I. Mayorca (@javiermayorca) June 1, 2020
“It is necessary to have a revaluation of this important product,” said Maduro about gasoline. “The time has come to move toward a new (pricing) policy,” he said.
This measure by the regime could also be described as a form of blackmail since it has announced two different prices: one for Venezuelans who have the Chavista Carnet de la Patria and another for those who do not have the illegitimate document. For the latter, the price of gasoline will be calculated at international prices.
Consumers who opt to access the subsidy system will be able to fill up 120 liters per month if they have a car, or 60 liters if they have a motorcycle. Each liter of gasoline will cost them 5,000 bolivars (0.025 USD). Those who exceed that limit would have to pay the equivalent of the international currency.
When it comes to subsidized fuel, Venezuelans will be able to pay one dollar to fill half the tank of a car, which would mean allocating a quarter of their monthly salary to refueling their vehicle. Those who choose this option will also have to comply with other types of rationing and will only be able to go to gas stations depending on the number of their license plate.
As a result of the shortage of gasoline, not all Venezuelans have access to fuel. People have to wait in long, never-ending queues to fill up their vehicles, and even then, not everyone has the same access. Gas stations are in the hands of the military, and it is they who decide whom to supply. Meanwhile, Venezuelans have been forced to pay up to four dollars per liter on the black market.
Maduro is proud to import gasoline for the country with the largest oil reserves in the world. Now, much of the fuel being distributed comes from Iran. “If the Venezuelan government asks for another shipment, we will send it to them,” Iranian Foreign Affairs spokesman Abbas Mousavi said at a press conference.
Iran has sent five ships loaded with 245 million liters of gasoline that have arrived at Venezuelan ports without a hitch even though Washington warned governments, ports, transportation companies, and insurers that they could face crackdowns if they help the ships that supply gasoline to Maduro’s dictatorship.
Venezuela, which used to have large oil complexes, now has refineries that are practically paralyzed. With reduced cash flow due to the drop in production and international prices, it must import gasoline for domestic consumption.
According to Venezuelan economist José Toro Hardy “today, our refineries can no longer stock up the impoverished Venezuelan market, which has been destroyed by the economic crisis. We are relying on imported gasoline from other sources to temporarily solve the problem.”
The state-owned oil company PDVSA produced just over 600,000 barrels per day last month, according to OPEC, a fifth of what it produced a decade ago.