Second ‘gasolinazo’ set for Saturday

A protest against the first "gasolinazo." (PHOTO: RT)

Motorists beware: there’s another gasolinazo — a word that describes a gas price increase that represents a nasty blow — coming on Saturday Feb. 4, but chances are it won’t be as severe as the last one.

In fact, finance officials are trying to find a way to soften the increase, no doubt wary of renewing angry and sometimes violent, nation-wide protests that followed the last one, which went into effect January 1 and ranged between 15% and 20%.

Even now those protests are continuing in various states. In the Tamaulipas border city of Reynosa a demonstration yesterday blocked access to a Pemex facility, where protesters were joined by former gas station workers who have been laid off by stations that have closed.

A protest against the first "gasolinazo." (PHOTO: RT)
A protest against the first “gasolinazo.” (PHOTO: RT)

At least 150 stations are not operating because of financial problems caused by the gas price increase in January. Twenty are not expected to reopen.

Even the leadership of the governing party got into the act this week, urging the government to reverse its plan for another increase.

Institutional Revolutionary Party president Enrique Ochoa Reza was joined by the presidents of the National Action Party and the Democratic Revolution Party in calling for Saturday’s increase to be canceled.

“We are asking as a party that the government bring to bear all the measures within its reach . . . to avoid a change in the price of fuel in February and protect . . . the finances of all Mexican families, above all those who have the least,” Ochoa said during a meeting of the party’s federal Deputies.

Finance Secretary José Antonio Meade said officials are trying to strike a balance between public finances and softening the volatility in the exchange rate and the price of petroleum while reflecting the fuels’ costs.

The fuel price increases — diesel is also affected — are being implemented to bring the price at the pump up to a more realistic level, one that takes into account the full, true cost of getting it there.

Saturday’s hike is one of two planned for this month. The second is to follow a week later.

Fuel prices will be freed of government control and set instead by the market with a rollout by region that begins March 30 and winds up at the end of the year.

A gas station trade organization forecast in December that fuel prices would rise about 15% this year. Citibanamex, a financial group, predicted the increase would be 22.5%



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