Government Launched Effort to Save Gas

December 23, 2005

WITH gas prices reaching record levels internationally in the middle of the year, government officials announced in June a plan to reduce the national oil bill by cutting traffic.

The plan, which went into effect in July when oil reached $60 per barrel, involved banning drivers from San José s busiest streets during rush hour one day a week based on license plate numbers, and shifting public employees schedules one hour earlier.

The goal of the measures was to reduce the country s fuel bill by at least 10%.

Critics challenged the success of the efforts, but in October the National Oil Refinery (RECOPE) announced that national gasoline consumption fell from August to September, partially crediting the government initiatives. The next month, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Minister of the Environment and Energy, revealed data showing the measures to be a limited success, but said long-term evaluation is necessary.

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