Updated late Jan 5
Fuel Price Reform Bolivia_Dec2010_05012011 I woke up this morning to this excellent report in my mailbox. It is a guide for countries seeking to reduce or end fuel subsidies. The author, Armin Wagner of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, writes an annual report on fuel prices in different countries that I find very useful. In the energy world, it’s rare to find someone working in the public sector doing international research on basic statistical information and then putting it out for all to use. I appreciate it.
The report is useful not only for readers in Bolivia but for those in Venezuela and other countries with low legacy fuel prices that they might at some point want to bring more into line with the real costs of fuel — costs that accrue to the government, the society and the environment. The idea I liked most in there was that Brunei charged unsubsidized prices on Earth Day, making the clear point that the subsidy is bad for the planet and showing citizens that they are receiving a subsidy. People can get so used to government handouts that they start to treat something as precious as motor fuel as if it were a human right like air or water.