Venezuela Did What?!

Typical Venezuelan gas station. Photo cred:,_Punto_Fijo.JPG,_Punto_Fijo.JPG

Typical Venezuelan gas station. Photo cred

Really, I’m surprised I don’t have more posts with this title. Venezuela does some crazy stuff, but this time I was truly shocked.

A couple weeks ago I was trying to find an open gas station on a Saturday afternoon and then that same evening. No luck. On a SATURDAY! I was surprised, but decided there must be some holiday I didn’t know about and resolved to find gas the next day.

The next day I was really worried because I had been driving around on E all day the day before so I searched a different area for an open gas station. It was the middle of the day on a Sunday, also prime gas buying time. Still no luck.

I asked my local friends and they told me it wasn’t a gas worker’s holiday that I didn’t notice. There was a GASOLINE shortage! In Venezuela! A country with one of the largest oil reserves in the world!!!

Finally, on Monday my friend helped me find an open station and I was able to drive there on the last fumes of the gas in my tank. The worker at the station was shocked I made it.

According to another local friend, I must have been really lucky because the gasoline shortages started a month or two ago!

So you might ask, “how can a country with so much oil be having gas shortages?!!”

5 Reasons Venezuela is now importing Gasoline:

  1. “Venezuela has the world’s cheapest gasoline.” Venezuela has the world’s cheapest gasoline. When I was on empty for two days and then filled my tank I only spent ten bs. That was only $1.59 or $0.10 to fill my Toyota Corolla depending on the rate you use- either way it is out-of-this-world cheap!!! I tipped the guy who pumped it 20 bs.
  2. Venezuela has 24.7% of the world’s crude oil reserve. This makes locals feel like they are entitled to super cheap gas.
  3. The rate for gas has been the same for 15 years, but if they raise the price of gas even a little, there will be riots. According to the NYT, “the break-even cost of high-octane gasoline… would be the equivalent of $1.62 a gallon….”
  4. Venezuela doesn’t get paid for almost half of the oil (1.2 million barrels) it produces because it’s given away to places like Cuba, or supplied to the domestic market at below-market prices.
  5. PDVSA, doesn’t have the money to build upgraders, which perform a preliminary refining process [to the crude oil], and its partners have been unwilling to pony up cash because of the risk of doing business in the country.”

Basically, there is nothing I can do about it other than always keeping my gas tank at least half full in case I need to go a while without gasoline. Also, I need to be on the lookout for a container for spare gasoline that I can keep… somewhere.

Do people keep extra containers of gas in their cars, or should I keep it in my spare bedroom?

Share your thoughts! What do you think Venezuela should do? Should the gas price stay so ridiculously low?


10 responses to “Venezuela Did What?!

  1. That’s crazy! Here in rural Argentina most people keep a spare gas can in their outdoor shed or back porch. That’s less of a thing in Buenos Aires, but if there’s a transportation strike, the YPF truck may not show up for a few days!


  2. Pingback: Thankful for Great Massages SOL#21 | Teaching Wanderlust·

  3. Pingback: Waiting for Gas in Venezuela | Teaching Wanderlust·

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