On the morning of November 15, motorists in Uzbekistan arrived at filling stations to find shockingly high new prices for their gasoline and diesel.
The unwelcome surprise is the talk of the town in the capital, Tashkent, and on social media.
The relatively low-quality AI-80 category is selling at 3,800 sum ($0.40) per liter, more than one-third higher than the previous rate of 2,800 sum. Higher-grade AI-91 is going for 4,300 sum per liter, a massive jump from 3,000 sum.
Until October last year, gas price increases were typically only slight — a few cents at a time. The cycle of economic liberalization initiated in the wake of President Islam Karimov’s death, however, has injected volatility into a sensitive area of everyday life.
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