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News Link • Venezuela

Venezuelans buy gas with cigarettes to battle inflation

• https://apnews.com by Scott Smith

Bartering at the pump has taken off as hyperinflation makes Venezuela's paper currency, the bolivar, hard to find and renders some denominations all but worthless, so that nobody will accept them.

Without cash in their wallets, drivers often hand gas station attendants a bag of rice, cooking oil or whatever is within reach.

"You can pay with a cigarette," said Orlando Molina, filling up his subcompact Ford Ka in Caracas. "Heck, it's no secret to anyone that it goes for nothing."

Gas is so dirt-cheap that station attendants don't even know the price. Emptyhanded drivers get waved through, paying nothing at all.

This barter system, while perhaps the envy of cash-strapped drivers outside the country, is just another symptom of bedlam in Venezuela.


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