Nicaragua paid a total of US$411.5 million in the first 5 months of this year for the purchase of 5.7 million barrels of crude oil and its derivatives, 3.95% lower compared to the same period of 2018 when the country paid US$428.4 million, according to the report of the General Directorate of Hydrocarbons of the Ministry of Energy and Mines (Dirección General de Hidrocarburos del Ministerio de Energía y Minas – MEM).

Although the annual oil bill of these first 5 months increased in total in volume by 100,000 barrels, purchases of crude oil fell both in terms of value (-19.70%) and volume (-14.34%).

On Wednesday, in the New York Stock Exchange, the reference West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil price for Nicaragua, for October delivery, fell 0.8% and was set at US$55.68 per barrel.

Patricia Rodríguez, an expert on the energy issue, ruled out that the price of oil in the international market is directly influencing the decrease in the bill.

“We are consuming less fuel, first there are a lot of people who have left (the country) and stopped using cars, there are a lot of people who have lost their jobs and even if they are here they have stopped using their vehicle or have sold it, since they don’t use the vehicle for any reason,” Rodriguez said.

According to the expert, in addition, those who use their vehicle trying to travel less, for example, will no longer travel to have lunch at home.

Fuel prices will fall for the second consecutive week in Nicaragua.

Not necessarily related to the lower consumption, gasoline prices fell on Saturday (August 17) to 32.71 cordobas per liter for super and 31.83 cordobas for regular. Diesel, the fuel most consumed in the country, also fell, albeit slightly, to 28.61 cordobas per liter.

Article originally appeared on Today Nicaragua and is republished here with permission.