How Zimbabwe became world's most expensive place to fuel a car

A protesters burns tyres on a road during a "stay-away" demonstration against the doubling of fuel prices on January 14, 2019 in Emakhandeni township, Bulawayo.

(CNN)In the Fall of 2017, Zimbabweans took to the streets in mass protests against a regime that was presiding over a broken economy and collapsing living standards.

Those protests would turn to celebrations when President Robert Mugabe finally stepped down after 37 years in power.
Mugabe's successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was elected the following August on a promise to stabilize the economy and allow for greater democratic freedom.
    But the honeymoon has swiftly soured. The new administration is already facing major unrest with strikes and protests bringing Zimbabwe's two largest cities, Harare and Bulawayo, to a standstill.
    Schools and government buildings were shuttered Monday, with streets standing empty, and sporadic violence being reported.
    Of course, the fall of Mugabe was not a panacea for one of the most famously unstable economies in the world, in which many citizens continue to face debilitating hardships. Almost a quarter of the population live in extreme poverty, according to the UN, and the cost of commodities are rising while salaries stagnate.
    This wave of protests has served to emphasize the size of the task facing the new president.

    The spark

    The proximal cause for the unrest is Mnangagwa's announcement of massive fuel price hikes, with petrol rising from $1.24 to $3.31 a liter and diesel rising from $1.36 to $3.11 - making Zimbabwe the most expensive country in the world to fill a car.
    The price hikes will also impact the price of many other commodities dependent on fuel, although Mnangagwa's announcement did also include measures to "cushion" government workers against rising costs of living.
    The president's announcement was the spur for the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to launch a three-day "stay away" that effectively paralyzed many of the country's public services.