BUENOS AIRES – Fuel prices shot up another 10 percent on Monday in Argentina, their fourth hike so far this year, which has caused ill feeling among citizens, who complain of growing inflation while salaries remain frozen.
“We’ll all have to get around on bikes,” Mauro Gomez, a deliveryman whose job is to drive around every day on his motorcycle, said Monday after filling up his tank. After the new price increase, filling his tank costs almost twice as much as it did two years ago and as much as 40 percent more than it did in January.
“It’s crazy,” he told EFE.
The Argentine government made the price increase on fuels official, which raises the accumulated inflation of this product to 28 percent so far this year.
“There’s a bigger increase every time,” said Jose Adrian Larreta, who acknowledged that on the streets of Buenos Aires, taxi-drivers and those who use their cars for work have to pay for the gasoline out of their own pockets, while wages, he said, remain stagnant.
Energy and Mines Minister Juan Jose Aranguren said Monday that price increases on fuels are due to the exchange-rate corrections starting with last December’s removal of the limit on purchases of dollars.
“To fill the tank of a taxi, you now have to pay 1,000 pesos ($70). It’s terrible,” Jose Adrian said, and recalled the recent increases in utility rates.
At the beginning of April, the government announced up to 100 percent hikes on transit fares and of more than 300 percent on gas and water, just two months after raising the electricity rate by 60 percent.
Together with the rising price of gasoline, President Mauricio Macri’s administration also made official Monday new taxes on tobacco production, which, according to consumers consulted by EFE, raised the price on a pack of 20 cigarettes from around 29 pesos ($2) to 43 pesos (almost $3).