Venezuela to increase subsidized gasoline price

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he corporate logo of the state oil company PDVSA is seen at a gas station in Caracas, Venezuela November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo

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CARACAS, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Venezuela hiked the price of its subsidized gasoline for vehicles and motor bikes, Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA said in a statement on Saturday, an increase the government attributed to the recent cutting of six zeros from local currency.

The new price will come into effect as of Sunday Oct. 24, bringing the cost of a liter of fuel to 0.10 bolivars (0.023 dollars), representing an increase of 1,900% on the price of 0.005 bolivars a year and a half ago.

Price increases of subsidized gasoline, which includes a monthly allowance for users, comes amid an acute fuel shortage.

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Some witnesses told Reuters that they were already paying the higher price on Saturday.

"Due to the introduction on October 1, 2021, of the New Monetary Expression, that is, of the Digital Bolivar, the price in bolivars of the subsidized fuel needs to be updated," the Ali Rodriguez presidential commission for restructuring the state oil company said in a statement.

PDVSA, which faces severe sanctions from the United States, did not specify if prices for gasoline sold in foreign currency would also be adjusted, nor did it clarify if the full subsidy for public transport and cargo will remain in place.

"They didn't tell anyone," a gasoline station owner in Maracay, a city in the center of the country, told Reuters. "It was just overnight."

Since June 2020 there have been two gasoline prices in Venezuela; the subsidized cost and another estimated at $0.50.

The government did not specify if a monthly quota of up to 120 liters of subsidized gas remains in place.

In Venezuela, where 1,500 service stations operate, two thirds frequently sell gas, with 500 selling at the subsidized price and 500 selling in dollar prices, according to data seen by Reuters. The rest operate intermittently.

($1 = 4.23880000 bolivars)

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Reporting by Deisy Buitrago in Caracas Additional reporting by Tibisay Romero in Valencia and by Mircely Guanipa in Maracay Writing by Oliver Griffin Editing by Mayela Armas and Diane Craft and Franklin Paul

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