Propane subsidy ends in February

The government is giving in to pressure from the IMF to reduce current deficits and end subsidies costing hundreds of millions of pesos. Current estimates place the government subsidy at around RD$35 per gallon.

As of February, the government will eliminate the subsidy on propane gas used in vehicles. This will affect hundreds and perhaps thousands of taxi, publicos and private vehicle owners. For some, the subsidy is an integral part of the price structure used to keep prices down in public transportation. Ironically, the different entities of public transportation have geared their price structures on the price of gasoline, and the increased that have come about during the past two years had no relation to the real cost of fuel for most drivers.

For others, though, it has been a luxury that permitted gas-guzzling SUV owners to drive around at low cost, thanks to propane adapters in Escalades, Expeditions and Navigators. The IMF wants the government to focus the propane subsidy on those who really need it.

A census is being carried out by the United Nations Development Program to identify 200,000 needy families that will continue to benefit from the subsidy.