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Posted October 19, 2004 by publisher in Business In Cuba

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By TRACEY EATON | The Dallas Morning News
Feeling pain at the gas pump? Be thankful you don’t live in Cuba, where the typical worker must labor for an entire week just to earn enough for a gallon of the precious stuff.

The average Cuban makes $12 a month, and the top grade of gas costs $3.41 a gallon.

“Not everyone can afford it,” said Ailet Pelez, 20, a cashier in Havana. “I save money so I can buy gas. And I use my car only when necessary. Cars here are luxuries.”

In the United States, gas prices are nearing records as crude prices hover around $55 a barrel, AAA, formerly known as the American Automobile Association, reported Friday. The highest prices in Texas are in Dallas, where a gallon of self-serve regular cost an average of $1.87 this past week, six cents short of the May record, AAA said.

As high as gas prices are, most Americans can afford it. They have a per capita income of $35,400, the world’s third highest.

Cubans earn just $144 a year on average, although that number is deceptive. Taking into account government subsidies of food, housing, utilities, health and education, their actual income is estimated to be higher, from $736 to $2,935.

But ordinary people have a tough time buying gas.

Leaded gas goes for $2.84 to $3.41 per gallon, although some government workers are eligible for a subsidized price of $2.46. Unleaded isn’t available.

Carlos Enrique Kim, 34, a cook, said he has trouble buying more than four gallons at a time. Still, he considers himself lucky.

“I live just seven blocks from work,” he said.

Lorenzo Tamayo, 36, a Havana musician, sometimes buys black-market gas to save money, but the contraband fuel is often dirty and fouls car engines.

“You have to be careful because sometimes the gas is diluted,” he said. “That brings on complications and other costs that wipe out whatever money I saved.”

PRICES ELSEWHERE

Teeside, England $5.64

Hong Kong $5.62

Frankfurt, Germany $5.29

Copenhagen, Denmark $5.08

Istanbul, Turkey $4.85

Seoul, Korea $4.71

Tokyo $3.84

Bangkok, Thailand $1.60

Shanghai, China $1.48

Moscow $1.45

Baku, Azerbaijan $1.15

Caracas, Venezuela 14 cents

SOURCE: Associates for International Research Inc.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on June 02, 2007 by jim bjork

    I was in Cuba in april 06 as a high-school chaperone. I was shocked at the living conditions of the people.  I was shocked at the price of gas, although I thought it was higher than your estimate of $3.41/gallon.  I felt sorry for the people having to live with such shortages; at the same time I felt the Cubans were hard-working, friendly, and happy. This week I have seen several estimates that say the world supply of oil will end in less than 30 years.  I am extremely concerned about this as I have children and I have hoped all along that they will inherit the lifestyle which I enjoy.  We in Canada, the U.S., Europe, and the developed world will be plunged into darkness, food shortages, and business collapse.  Without an immediate, global awakening of EVERYONE we are all going back to the stone age.  Please publish this anywhere you can, and reply to my comments.  My concerns are beyond the politics of any single country, as I’m sure you are aware.


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