Daily Archives: June 23, 2008

Going the extra mile

Dressed in drab olive uniforms and armed with squeegees, Mexico’s PEMEX gasoline station attendants have practically attained Superhero status in these dark times of soaring gas prices.

I started buying gasoline in Tijuana a few months ago. I did it with some trepidation because I’ve always been a little wary about it. When I worked as a reporter, I once talked several times with a person who claimed to have first-hand knowledge that some Mexican gas stations were mixing gasoline with other chemicals to increase their profit margins. It was one of those stories that never panned out because it would have meant getting some expensive tests done on gasoline samples and quite possibly some illegal trespassing. 

So when I started buying Mexican gasoline I conducted a non-scientific test:  I filled up my tank in Mexico several times and compared the mileage to what I was getting with U.S. gasoline. There was no real difference so I figured there was a reasonable chance that I was getting what I was paying for. I’ve been a convert ever since, easily saving $10-$15 dollars every time I fill up.

Many other border residents have discovered the joys of state-subsidized gasoline in Mexico. The San Diego Union-Tribune has been running stories on border commuters sucking the stations dry.

All that business has the PEMEX crew pretty busy. They pump gas for you, they clean off your windows and if they’ve got time they even check the pressure of your tires. They don’t need to wear a cape or have superpowers to pull off their act. Plenty of grateful customers feel like they’ve been saved when they pull out of the gas station.