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>> Fuel is cheap in Venezuela, so cheap that you can fill your gas tank 20,000 times for the price of just two pounds of cheese. And there should be plenty of it as Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves. Despite all that, cities across Venezuela recently suffered from major fuel shortages.
Reuters correspondent Luc Cohen reports from Caracas.>> Now, in the border region, so further away, fuel shortages have long been common. That's because since the government subsidizes gasoline, which results in people being able to fill up their tanks for less than it costs to buy a bottle of water.
That encourages smuggling to neighboring countries. So in areas near the borders with Colombia or Brazil, there have long been shortages of fuel. But the fact that recently it's reached Caracas and Valencia, very populated cities, politically important in the center of the country, that's something new.>> Driving the problem, crude production has plunged to its lowest level in nearly 70 years, as the socialist run economy suffers its fifth year of recession.
Much of the oil industry infrastructure is crumbling, and US sanctions have complicated new financing opportunities. State run oil company PDVSA is now importing about half of the gasoline the country needs. All that, combined with cheap gasoline at the pump, making for fuel shortages. Now, Venezuelans already coping with medicine shortages, blackouts, and empty supermarket shelves are getting increasingly frustrated.
>> It's bad because I'm here since the morning. I have things to do, I leave my children alone, my husband is supposedly comes to bring me lunch. I have a family member in the hospital who needs medication. But if I can't fuel up, how can I get to a nearby place to find medicine?
> Neither PDVSA nor Venezuela's oil or communications ministries replied to requests for comment.