G500, a firm that operates 1,800 gas stations around the country, said it would close some stations on Wednesday because of insecurity, and said that all of its outlets could shutter for the same reason.
Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade said the price increases would mean government funds would no longer go toward keeping Mexican fuel prices artificially low, warding off spending cuts on things like health and education.
(Some have noted that the Mexican government likely overspends on some areas of the budget, creating shortfalls.) Deputy Finance Minister Miguel Messmacher said earlier this week that because 30% of Mexican households consume about 70% of the gasoline, "we didn't consider it good public policy to maintain an artificially low price for fuels." On December 29, before the hike went into effect, Environment Secretary Rafael Pacchiano defended the increase, saying on Twitter that the benefit of the subsidies had accrued to the richest segments of the population — a conclusion reached by other researchers as well.
(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) He also denied that the price increase is a result of the landmark energy reform his government pushed through in 2013, which he repeatedly said would not lead to fuel price increases.
Rather, he said, the increase came in response to the rise of gas prices internationally — a point echoed by Meade.