While Americans and Europeans bemoan the cost of gasoline at the pumps, people in some other parts of the world enjoy filling up their tanks cheaply thanks to subsidies provided by wealthy, oil-rich governments. But fuel subsidies tend to benefit the rich (who own motor vehicles) more than the poor. The IMF estimated that 65 percent of the fuel subsidies in Africa benefit the richest 40 percent of households (2010). Only 8 percent of the $410 billion in government fuel subsidies worldwide went to the poorest 20 percent of the population (International Energy Agency - estimates, 2010).
The British insurance firm Staveley Head has released the latest list of the world’s gas pump prices. Here are the 10 cheapest countries on Earth to fill a gas tank.
With elections looming in October 2012, President Hugo Chávez knows that raising gas prices would be a risky move politically. His presidency is already threatened by his deteriorating health, providing a unique opportunity for the opposition’s candidate, the telegenic Henrique Capriles Radonski, to replace the ailing leader. Last time a government attempted to raise prices in 1989, fatal riots ensued, killing hundreds. Venezuelans are likely to continue paying less for fuel than bottled water in many parts of the country for years to come.
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