FEATURE: Venezuelans Consider Gasoline Shortage Never-Ending Problem

FEATURE: Venezuelans Consider Gasoline Shortage Never-Ending Problem

CARACAS (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 01st June, 2021) The wide-ranging measures implemented a year ago by the Venezuelan government have failed to resolve the problem of fuel shortages across the country, with many people having to stand in long lines at service stations to fill up their cars, citizens interviewed by Sputnik said.

On June 1 of last year, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro increased the price of gasoline, triggering increase in fuel prices from 0.00006 bolivars (less than a penny) per liter to 5,000 bolivars or $0.2. To ease pressure on gasoline demand, the government also set up 200 additional service stations to sell gasoline at the international price of $0.5 per liter. In addition, Caracas, the capital city introduced a fuel-rationing regime in which fuel is dispensed to buyers according to their vehicle license plate numbers. The measures brought temporary relief especially to motorist in the capital city but did little to reduce the long lines at gas stations across the country.

"Certainly the problem has not been solved, only the fuel load was organized, we continue to suffer from the lack of fuel, in fact, it has worsened in the last month, but those measures did not solve the problem that seems to never end," resident of an area on the outskirts of Caracas, Tania Pena, told Sputnik.

In addition to the long lines, the fuel problem is affecting vehicles themselves, resident of Western Caracas, Maria Miranda, said.

"There are still queues here, people are in a difficult situation, the pumps in cars' gasoline tanks are breaking, the injectors too, the problem hasn't been solved," the woman commented.

The service stations that sell gasoline at the international price became a relief for people who can pay, but for those who do not have enough money, this measure did not turn out to be a worthy solution to the problem. A resident of La Guaira state in the north of Venezuela, David Henao, said that he must wait in lines because his salary does not allow him to pay for the gasoline set at $0.5.

"I have no other choice, I have to queue, I know that these endless queues do not form at the stations that use the dollarized system, but I don't have money to buy imported gasoline, my salary is not enough," he said.

The minimum wage in Venezuela is three dollars, and it costs approximately 10-20 Dollars to buy 25-50 liters of gasoline at the international price.

The stability of Venezuelan fuel supplies has been negatively affected during this time, and the Venezuelan government places the blame for that on the United States, that have imposed sanctions on the oil industry in Venezuela.

Maduro's government even had to buy gasoline from Iran to supply the country's gas stations.

When President Nicolas Maduro was elected for the first time in 2013, after the death of Hugo Chavez (1954 - 2013), the already unstable relations between the US and Venezuela became strained. As a result, since 2017 the White House imposed sanctions that led to significant economic problems in Venezuela. Caracas denounced the negative impact of the US attacks on its population.