Maduro to End Cheap Gasoline for All Venezuelans This Week

(Bloomberg) -- President Nicolas Maduro took to the airwaves Monday night to tell Venezuelan drivers that the days of being able to fill up their tanks with some of the cheapest gasoline in the world were over.

From Aug. 15-17, drivers must register to receive subsidies for gasoline purchases, and those who do not will have to pay international prices for fuel.

Maduro, speaking on state television, said the government will provide a “direct subsidy” to drivers who take advantage of this “final opportunity” to register.

Boasting the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuelans fill up a tank of gasoline for just a fraction of a penny. But after years of unchecked spending and mismanagement, the ruling socialists are seeking to make adjustments to stem hyperinflation and a deep economic depression.

Maduro declared Aug. 20, the day of the currency rollout, a national holiday. The country will use two units of account, the sovereign bolivar and the nation’s Petro cryptocurrency, which will be the basis for the new wage system and price system, he said. The central bank will publish the bolivar rate daily, Maduro said.

Maduro announced last month that he was postponing the currency rollout and would lop five, not three, zeroes off the currency as the International Monetary Fund sees inflation reaching 1 million percent by the end of the year.

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