Nicaraguan motorists received another unwelcome pinch in their wallets this week when they discovered the pump price of gasoline has once again soared to new highs.
The cost of a gallon of Super increased to nearly $5.50 this week, while regular gasoline jumped to $5.11 a gallon—about 34% more expensive than the average price per gallon of regular gasoline in the United States.
Nicaragua now has the most expensive pump prices in Central America for Super, and is about $.05 less expensive than Costa Rica for a gallon of regular. Gas prices in Nicaragua have increased by more than 11% over the past five weeks, according to a report in La Prensa.
Taxi drivers insist they’re the ones who bear the brunt of gas hikes.
“This week’s price increase means I’ll have to spend an extra 150 córdobas ($6.17) on gas each day—that’s an extra 150 córdobas I won’t be bringing home at the end of the day,” says Erickson López, of the “Jhonson” taxi cooperative in Masaya.
López says that a year ago, he was spending 300 córdobas a day in gas just driving around Masaya. But now he spends 450-500 a day. “All my money is going to gas,” he says.
López says the government’s gas subsidy cards for taxi drivers continue to devalue every week that pump prices increase. Now it’s taxi drivers who are subsidizing the transportation sector, he says.
“We already increased taxi fares in Masaya from 10 córdobas to 15 córdobas last November because of gas-price hikes last year. We can’t increase fares again—no one will pay,” López says. “So once again it’s the taxi drivers who have to suck it up and subsidize the rising costs of gas.”