Gasoline prices hiked sharply in Turkmenistan

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan — Turkmenistan, which once provided drivers a quota of free gasoline every month, has raised its pump prices by 50 percent as the country struggles with low prices for its mainstay export of natural gas.

On Thursday, a liter of gasoline rose to 1.5 manat, the equivalent of 42 U.S. cents ($1.60 per gallon). Although the price is still low by world standards, the increase is substantial in a country where the average monthly wage is estimated to be about $350.

Turkmenistan is heavily reliant on its vast natural gas reserves for export income. As gas prices fell on the world market, Turkmenistan's GDP declined about 15 percent since 2014.

Under the late eccentric president Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmens were allotted 120 liters (about 30 gallons) of free gasoline a month.

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