Driving to Mexico?
If you are driving south, you may need to buy gasoline in Mexico at some point. Fortunately, this should be a simple and straightforward process for the most part, though there are some potential complications that can come up.
Here are some important points to keep in mind:
Gasoline Quality in Mexico
There is a popular belief that Mexico’s gasoline is lower-quality than the United States’ gasoline. However, that may not be the case. 60% of Mexico’s gas comes from the United States! The petroleum industry in Mexico has declined in recent years but they do produce it. They have the seventeenth-largest oil reserves in the world and is the fourth-largest producer of oil in the Western Hemisphere behind the U.S., Canada, and Venezuela.
The gas used to be a nationalized resource in Mexico. As a result, PEMEX was the sole authorized seller. This changed in 2018, resulting in a competitive fuel market. As such, you may be able to shop around now and find the best gas, at and the best prices. Just be cautious with CHEAP gas.
Types of Gasoline
Generally speaking, you can expect to find three kinds of gas at PEMEX stations. First, there is a regular unleaded called Magna, which is rated at 87 octane. Second, high-octane unleaded called Premium, which is rated at 93 octane. Most PEMEX stations will have diesel as well. However, this isn’t guaranteed to be the case. On top of this, it is worth mentioning that you can distinguish between the three kinds of gas based on the pump color, seeing as how green means Magna, red means Premium, and black means diesel. For more information on Diesel in Mexico please see our article “Driving Your Diesel to Mexico“.
Different stations tend to have no more than slight differences in price. Mexico is a gas producer. However, it isn’t producing as much gas as it could be producing under better circumstances thanks to under-investment, a lack of maintenance, and other serious internal sabotage issues. As a result, the country has become more and more reliant on imports from the United States, which is something that comes with its own problems such as inadequate transportation capabilities. Be warned that this means that gas can be quite a bit more expensive in Mexico than in even neighboring parts of the United States. Thanks to the efforts of U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. gas companies are now competing in Mexico. Stay tuned for a Shell, Chevron, Arco even Walmart and Costco near you!
Gasoline prices vary by zone. There are 8 zones throughout the country. Each is allowed a different price for fuel.
The price on the border is generally about the same on both sides. It is a special zone. Most of the cheaper gas stations were in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, which borders Texas.
From a petroleum news site – efe.com: “Energy Secretary Rocio Nahle said that in the country there are 12,500 gas stations divided into eight zones and announced the average prices per brand and type of fuel: regular, premium and diesel.
Among the most expensive distributors were Shell, G500, FullGas, and Walmart, while PetroSeven, Arco, and Gulf were the cheapest.
State-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), which owns its own gas stations, is at the mid-point on the list, offering its fuel at very average prices.
There is a custom of tipping gas station attendants when they do something extra such as wiping the windshields. Besides this, you should watch out for potential scams such as gas station attendants not bothering to reset the counter before pumping. Those who think that they might have been scammed should ask for a receipt before lodging a complaint with PROFECO.