If all this talk of skyrocketing fuel prices has you ready to head for the hills, it’s going to cost you to get there. Skyrocketing gas prices have consumers fuming at the pumps.
While gas prices are determined by factors including supply and demand, processing costs, distribution costs, global conflicts, refinery shutdowns, and taxes, some countries are able to take advantage of special initiatives. The tiny country of Belize is a case in point. The recently re-elected Prime Minister of Belize, the Honourable Dean Barrow, intends to turn to Venezuela for some of Belize’s fuel imports, taking advantage of the PetroCaribe Agreement.
Prime Minister Barrow’s initiative would reduce Belize’s reliance on petroleum supplied by Shell, Exxon, and Texaco.
Venezuela is well known for its petro-diplomacy in the Caribbean and Central America region. The PetroCaribe initiative offers preferential payment and financing options to its member nations. Participating member countries in the PetroCaribe Energy Cooperation Agreement include: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Dominican Republic, Dominica, Guatemala, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, amongst others.
The most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Energy show that, in 2010, the U.S. imported about 10% of its petroleum from Venezuela. The U.S. is one of the only – if not the only – countries to pay full price for Venezuela oil. Current price for a gallon of regular gas in Miami is $3.939; in New York City – $4.249; in Philadelphia – $3.899; in Boston – $3.879; in Detroit – $3.859; and in Los Angeles – $4.199.
Across the pond, the price of regular gas in Norway is $9.33/gallon, followed by Rome gas prices at $8.51. You’re in for a bumpy ride in Denmark and Monaco at $8.48 and $8.46, respectively. Jolly old London Town’s gas prices are more folly than jolly at $8.12/gallon; and it’s not so gay in Paris these days with prices of $8.06 at the pumps. Berlin’s nightlife isn’t quite as bright after coughing up $7.76 for a gallon of gas there.
While “Big Oil” has many nations over a barrel, Belize’s energy agreement with Venezuela could put Prime Minister Barrow in the driver’s seat to lower Belize’s fuel prices. With Venezuelans only paying 6¢/gallon at the pumps, taking advantage of the Petro-Caribe agreement may put Belize on the map to lower fuel prices.
In the race at the pumps, Belize may triumph as the tortoise.
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