Friday, January 18

A full tank of gas for the price of an icecream

read and weep!

There is a world where oil costs $100 a barrel, where motorists wince as they fill up the tank and where energy efficiency is a mantra.

And then there is Venezuela. At a Caracas petrol station last week, Gloria Padron, a paediatrician, ticked off items that would cost about the same as the 60 litres of fuel gurgling into her Land Cruiser.

"Let me think. A Magnum ice cream. A cup of coffee. A cheese and ham arepa [sandwich]. Small stuff like that. Can't say I've ever really thought about the price. Why would you?"

When a litre costs 0.7p, and filling the tank of a 4x4 costs 42p, it is a fair question. Petrol is so cheap here - reputedly the cheapest in the world - as to be almost free. Even under the artificially overvalued official exchange rate, petrol is 45 times cheaper than in Britain.

No comments: