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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2007, 05:44 GMT 06:44 UK
Burma leaders double fuel prices
File image of vehicles in Rangoon
Many taxis and buses did not run after the hikes
Burma's government has sharply raised fuel prices, an unannounced move that has left some workers stranded.

Prices for petrol and diesel at government-run stations have doubled, while the price of compressed natural gas for buses has risen five-fold.

There has been no mention of the price increase in official media, but a petrol station manager said the order came from the Energy Ministry.

Many buses did not run on Wednesday and those that did charged higher fares.

One bus commuter in the main city, Rangoon, told the French news agency AFP that he only had enough money to travel to work, not back.

"It is a big shock for us," he said. "I don't know how to get back home this evening."

The price rise also kept some taxis off the streets.

"We haven't been given any instructions about how much we should charge. I just don't know what to do and decided not to run today," one driver told Reuters news agency.

The price of petrol rose from 1,500 kyat (US$1.17) to 2,500 kyat (US$1.95) per gallon, while diesel rose from 1,500 kyat to 3,000 kyat per gallon.

It is the first such rise in almost two years in the military-ruled country.

Fuel is rationed in Burma and there is a limit to the amount cars and taxis can buy each month without resorting to the much more expensive black market.

Analysts say the Burmese economy has suffered from years of mismanagement.

Sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States over the ongoing detention of leader Aung San Suu Kyi are also having an effect.

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