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June 19th, 2011
Before we begin, the graphic left shows three sets of letters. Most of my readers know all three, but for those who do not, LOL = Laugh Out Loud. OMG = Oh My God, and WTF= ummmm, well best to ask your kids or grand kids about WTF.
Very handy though!
In Costa Rica, we only have two types of gas, Regular (OMG) and Super (WTF).
Prices in Costa Rica have been sliding up for some time. Food, of course is one, but that seems to be a world wide issue. I have already ranted about the transit laws and how much a parking ticket can cost, but the thing that really frosts my twinkle is the ridiculous price of gasoline and the seemingly never ending increases.
We just had another increase a few days ago, and now I am paying about $85.00 to fill my tank (Nissan Xtrail, a small SUV).
It has been a while since I actually calculated the price per gallon in dollars. As we use liters here and pay in colones, it takes a couple of calculations to convert to dollars but I have done so here as many of my readers are from North America and are more accustomed to price per gallon.
Below is a little chart showing the prices. If this topic interests you… read on!
I have asked a fair number of Ticos exactly why they think gas prices here are so high and the answers I get are generally the same. Someone is getting very, very rich. Taxes are part of it, of course, but where is THAT money going? Nobody seems to know. Certainly not to maintain the roads as they should be maintained.
Nobody seems to even know for sure where the government buys their oil for refining. Some are not sure if we even refine the oil we buy (I think we do). The most logical place would seem to be from Venezuela where gasoline per gallon is about $.15 per gallon.
Now I am reasonable sure that Costa Rica buys its oil at world spot prices. I doubt they can get a discount from Hugo, but the price of oil on the world market is DOWN… around $93.00 per barrel as I recall, so again, why is it so much more here? And, Why is it going UP? How are other countries doing it?
I guess what just makes me a bit nuts is that it seems the government of Costa Rica simply does not seem to grasp that ridiculously and artificially high gas prices have an enormously negative effect on the economy of the country.
The biggest effect is inflation because the price of anything that is produced using petroleum products (read that as just about everything) or transported to market by any form of vehicle that uses gasoline or diesel, is immediately going to reflect how much those producers and shippers are paying for fuel. That cost is then passed on to the Ticos who can least afford it. It is the worst kind of regressive taxation as even those who own no car are getting the brunt of these costs.
This has a staggering effect on Costa Ricans, many of whom simply cannot keep up with these rising costs. It affects tourism as the simple costs of renting and driving here are far more than other countries looking to attract tourists.
I am not fond of those foreigners who live here trying to tell the government how to run the show, but I do hope at some point the Ticos become more aggressive in their demands for explanations as to why they must pay so much for so little.
It is harming every Costa Rica. It is holding back development and investment and is causing much needless human suffering.
I’d especially encourage intelligent comments from Costa Ricans on this topic as frankly, other than bitching at the prices… I just don’t get it.Filed under Cost of Living, Cost Of Living Costa Rica, Costa Rica, Expatriate Life, Gas Prices, Gasoline, Life in Costa Rica, Living in Costa Rica, Opinion, Rants, Travel Advisory | Comments (39)