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  • VENEZUELA ECONOMY

    Worry about price of gasoline keeps cars lining up at Venezuela gas stations

    17 de agosto de 2018

    Caracas, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- Long lines of cars at Venezuela's gas stations continue due to the uncertainty about the price of gasoline, the cheapest in the world, which the government threatens boost to international levels for all who do not register for the census of car owners that ends this Friday.

    The lines are common enough in states bordering Colombia, such as Tachira and Zulia, where control has been maintained with a chip since 2014 to avoid smuggling gasoline across the border, and has been repeated in other Venezuelan states including Carabobo and the capital.

    The situation is due, according to gas station personnel consulted by EFE, to the "lack of information" about the decision of President Nicolas Maduro, who has warned that gasoline for those not registered in the car owners' census will be charged at the international rate.

    Though the country has a single official exchange rate that operates on an auction system - currently 248,832 bolivars per dollar - citizens have their doubts about whether they will continue to be charged at that rate or if they'll be hit by the one used for buying dollars at foreign currency exchange offices, which stands at 4.01 million bolivars per dollar.

    "We're all desperate," accountant Deysa Cortes told EFE.

    She said it's "incredible" that in the country with the largest oil reserves in the world, people are getting in "immensely long lines to fill up their gas tanks."

    "And don't talk to me about that census," she said, but added that she's in favor of raising the price of gasoline "gradually," a position supported by everyone EFE spoke to.