Where gasoline prices are going up as oil falls

Hassan Ammar | AFP | Getty Images

The price of oil has been plummeting over the last year, but prices at the pump jumped 40 percent in Saudi Arabia this week.

The leading oil producer isn't the only country with citizens that have seen their gasoline prices rise as oil prices fall. Several others also have cut subsidies as falling oil revenues strained their finances in recent years.

Some — like several Caribbean countries — have been hit indirectly as generous programs from neighboring oil producers have found their way to the cutting block.

World Bank data from 2012 and 2014 compared with gasoline prices gathered by GlobalPetrolPrices.com in 2015 shows the countries that have seen their retail gasoline prices rise as the price of Brent crude fell 64 percent.

Sources: World Bank World Development Indicators database (2012 and 2014 annual pump prices, converted to gallons); GlobalPetrolPrices.com 2015 Q3 data -- countries with an asterisk are from official sources, while those without an asterisk are extrapolated from past data for those countries. Extrapolated data may not accurately reflect recent policy changes.

The Saudi government posted a record budget deficit of $98 billion Monday before announcing cuts to the gas subsidy that went into effect Tuesday, as well as plans to privatize state corporations and slash other subsidies. The government provided about $11 billion in pre-tax gasoline subsidies this year, according to the International Monetary Fund,

Angola also reduced subsidies this year, cutting them entirely in May to save an estimated 4 percent of the country's budget. Egypt, Gabon, Bangladesh, UAE, Oman and Indonesia also approved deep cuts to or abolished subsidies this year. Yemen, Malaysia, Libya and Iran made cuts last year.

Other countries may simply opt not to pass on savings from lower oil costs to citizens — as may be the case in Guyana, according to local media.

The cuts could be the death knell for the once-common public energy subsidy. While the falling oil prices may have forced the issue, many countries had plans to reduce the benefit over time. Experts have long criticized such subsidies for regressively benefiting the highest earners, encouraging waste and displacing other social programs.

"Falling oil prices could make sure reforms both more urgent and, possibly, politically easier to implement," the IMF said in a report this year.

The 20 countries that still have subisidies include Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, which are still holding gasoline prices at some of the lowest prices in the world, despite cuts. If crude prices remain at current levels, citizens in both those countries could eventually find themselves paying full price for their countries' primary exports.