Go south for cheap gas?

Petroleos MexicanoThere has been much talk lately in the news and on the radio and TV shows about Americans heading to Mexico to partake of the cheaper fuels available there.

This quote from The Sanctuary gave me a chuckle and went on to explain why the fuels are so much cheaper in Mexico.

As nativists continue to falsely claim that “illegal aliens are stealing from U.S. taxpayers”, it looks as if U.S. citizens have found a way to steal from Mexican taxpayers.

Here in Mexico, gasoline is about a dollar cheaper per gallon than in the US because the Mexican government subsidizes it’s national oil monopoly PEMEX. In Monterrey last weekend, Regualr gas was selling for $7.99 pesos per liter ($3.30 US) with premium gas or Magna selling at $8.99 pesos per liter $(3.65 US per gallon).

Gasoline prices in Mexico are set by law. In addition, low sulphur diesel (500ppm) and Ultra Low Sulphur diesel (15ppm) which is largely imported from the US is selling at $5.95 pesos per liter ($2.40 US per gallon) Mexican further subsidizes dieself to it’s commercial fleet with a 20% discount on direct billing.

Because of low refinery capacity, Mexico imports approximately 40% of it’s gasoline and diesel from the US or sends it’s crude to US refineries along the Gulf Coast for refining.

So is crossing the border for a fill up worth the money saved versus the time and trouble involved?

Consider border wait times now that can be more than two hours and major crossings. The cost of the toll to cross back into the US. The hassle of being treated like a criminal by your own government, all to save a few bucks? You decide!

We’re hearing unsubstantiated rumors of Americans going into Mexico and filling up gas cans and containers to take back across the border, and frankly, while it might be attempted, they are asking for more trouble than the money being saved.

For instance, when asked about the legality of importing fuels from Mexico, the Customs and Border Protection responded with this press release.

After seeing a spike in extra tanks and containers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection published an advisory telling people that anything not in their vehicle’s gas tank qualifies as a commercial import and must be brought in and documented through commercial lanes.

“We’re not stopping people who are coming in with just one diesel tank, but we’re looking at people who are coming in with several of them,” CBP spokeswoman Mucia Dovalina told Mexico Trucker Online.

In a phone interview Thursday, Dovalina said the advisory applied to “anything that is not in actual use or that is not fitting to the vehicle that is in operation of the vehicle.”

Pemex has traditionally been a great source of national pride, making Mexico one of the world’s top oil producers and producing about a third of the government’s revenue.

But its proven oil reserves are shrinking, and it lacks refining capacity, particularly for low-sulfur diesel being phased in under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

So even while the nation still exports crude oil, it imports about 40 percent of its fuel.

“Mexico currently is a net exporter of hydrocarbons. Local refining is not sufficient to meet local demand, so Mexico imports petroleum products to make up the balance,” said Mariano Gurfinkel of the Center of Energy Economics at the University of Texas at Austin. “In practice, some of the Mexican oil is refined in the Gulf Coast refineries and petroleum products are sent to Mexico. … There might be some targeted subsidies, but that’s a sovereign decision of Mexico.”

While Mexico is the biggest importer of U.S refined product, In the overall scheme of things, it’s not a huge number.

Pemex in 1993 invested $1 billion in Shell Oil Co.’s Deer Park refinery to help process its oil.

I have not found breakdowns of which refineries export how much to Mexico, but the most recent data, from March, showed 100,000 barrels of U.S.-refined gasoline per day going to Mexico — roughly 1 percent of the 9 million per day consumed in the United States.

Diesel exports to Mexico were 46,000 barrels per day, compared with 4 million per day consumed here.

As a side note, I was listening to the Fucking Bozo, Dale Sommers this afternoon coming across the border and he was talking about the poor quality of Mexican fuels. Telling his listeners they would need decontaminants and such. Who believes his bullshit anymore. It is obvious he knows nothing about what he talks about. With the statistics at hand, he is also condemning US refined and exported fuels. That sort of set the record straight once again about Mr Sommers and company.

I’m due a filter change on my Volkswagon Jetta TDI, that is a diesel Jetta for those who don’t know. With 45,000 miles on the motor and the original fuel filter on it, we’ll see how “dirty” Mexican diesel is. I would imagine that probably 80% of the fuel burned in that car has been bought at the pumps in Mexico, the other 20% coming out of the tanks of my big rig. I get around to it, I’ll publish photos of the contents. We’ll see how dirty the fuel is.