Gas subsidies play part in Venezuelan smog


Many problems underlie this city’s ubiquitous tailpipe pollution and traffic congestion. Among them are inadequate public transport, chaotic development, non-existent enforcement of vehicle-emissions standards and a near-total lack of carpool lanes (just one in all of metropolitan Caracas). But a crucial, often-overlooked factor, experts say, is the heavy government subsidization of gasoline prices. Thanks to subsidies, leaded gas here costs the equivalent of 10 cents a gallon and unleaded gas sells for some 13.5 cents a gallon. These artificially low fuel costs encourage wide automobile use—and make it more feasible to drive low-mileage, pollution-prone vehicles ranging from jalopies to SUVs. Yet oil-rich Venezuela’s cheap-gasoline policy is popular both among the affluent, who receive a disproportionate share... [Log in to read more]

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