Desperate measures

Thursday 31 July 2008

Coping strategies: countries adjust to all-time-high oil prices

Down to Earth Bangladesh increased fuel prices for the first time since April 2007. The government maintained subsidies on diesel and kerosene, used predominantly by the poor.

Down to Earth Texan motorists, in search of cheap gas, crossed the border into Mexico, which subsidizes its fuel.

Down to Earth Indian truckers went on strike from July 2 to 4, after the government increased fuel prices.

Down to Earth Haiti was forced to cut fuel subsidies to focus resources on the food crisis, sending fuel prices to US $6.14 a gallon in a country where 80 per cent of the population lives on less than US $2 a day.

Down to Earth China, too, announced it would cut oil subsidies. Unrest among motorists, however, prompted Beijing to reinstate subsidies for grain farmers, taxi drivers and low-income groups.

Down to Earth Canadian province British Columbia instituted a carbon tax on fossil fuels to encourage use of alternative energy sources.

Down to Earth Hugo Chavez pledged to keep gas at US $0.12 a gallon. With an endless supply of cheap gas, traffic jams and SUVs clog Venezuela's cities.

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