Venezuela has the cheapest gas in the world according to data released by Bloomberg Wednesday. At an incredible $0.06 per gallon it is not surprising that neighboring Colombians are clamoring to fill their tanks with it.
Colombia comes in 46th place in Bloomberg’s report with a price of $4.72, still well below the ranking’s $6.01 global average, but nearly 7,800% more expensive than its neighbor.
The average daily income in Colombia is about $23, which means a gallon of gas at market price costs 21% of a day’s wage. In Venezuela on the other hand, with cheaper gas than Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the cost of gas is a measly 0.2% of a day’s $31 wage.
Venezuela’s huge appetite for gas seems to be insatiable, the last time the government tried to cut subsidies in 1989 people rioted and hundreds were killed. Analysts put the loss to Chavez’s government of this subsidization at about $21 billion in 2011 according to Reuters. But rather than cut the subsidy which could be political suicide, Venezuelan policy has been pushing to cut domestic use, however this is no help when an estimated 7.6 million gallons are smuggled illegally across the border every month, as reported in The Star.
The border control operation involves around 250 National Police who work to curb the influx of trucks that hurl across the border with their profitable cargo. This “caravan of death” allegedly results in deadly explosions and is responsible for an estimated 40% of pedestrian deaths in the region according to The Star.