The Associated Press announced recently that “Chavez will swap gas-guzzlers for clean cars.”
The news may seem surprising coming from an oil producing country that claims what may be the largest reserves of crude in the world. Gas prices are subsidized by the state in Venezuela, and — as in the US — cars are a big part of local culture.
Things are now beginning to change. The state oil company PDVSA has opened a conversion center to turn regular, gas-burning cars into cleaner vehicles that run on natural gas. Bloomberg reported that nearly 1,000 cars will be converted by the end of the year, and automakers will be required to have 30% running on natural gas by April 2009.
The issue of environmental sustainability has caught on in Venezuela in recent years. Part of the constitution is dedicated to the environmental rights and responsibilities of citizens. The law states: “It is a fundamental duty of the State, with the active participation of society, to ensure that the populace develops in a pollution-free environment…”
Looks like things are moving the right direction.