In June 2008 we mentioned that drivers in the U.S. were crossing the border in order to fill up in cheap gasoline. Gas stations in northern Mexico were enjoying “brisk sales” since gasoline prices in states like Texas was roughly $4 per gallon.
Nearly three years later, history is repeating itself. More drivers are crossing into Mexico seeking inexpensive gasoline subsidized by state-owned PEMEX. Even though the price of Mexican gas was increased this month for the forth time this year, it’s still approximately $2.94 to $3.31 a gallon compared to prices as high as $4.20 a gallon in California. Additionally, U.S. drivers can legally bring Mexican gasoline across the border and it isn’t subject to duty taxes. Hence, increased traffic at border crossing points:
Residents of Eagle Pass, Tex., just across the border from the northeastern Mexican town of Piedras Negras, are finding the deep discount worth the lengthy wait times at the crossing. The California border crossing at San Ysidro, a major thoroughfare between San Diego and Tijuana, is also seeing sharp increases in wait times due to the cheaper gas on the other side.Crossing the border to get Mexican gas is not a foolproof plan as some commuters are hesitant over the security risk of driving in risky parts of the border region. In 2008 the AAA Auto Club warned that Mexican gas is “made with a different formula…(that) can ruin the emission control equipment on American cars and cause them to fail emissions tests.”
With oil prices steadily going up due to several factors, one may expect to see more drivers allured by cheap Mexican gasoline for short-term gain. Déjà vu, indeed.
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, Hispanic Tips, Reuters, Time, El Universal, CNN, MSNBC, Wikipedia