Costa Rica’s Gas the Most Expensive in Central America

April 21, 2006

Gasoline in Costa Rica is the most expensive in Central America because of a 30% tax on petroleum derivatives, according to a study by the Central American Secretary of Integration (SIECA).

Gas in Costa Rica costs an average of 15% more than in other countries in the region.

According to the study, while Costa Ricans pay $3.38 per gallon for regular gas, consumers in El Salvador pay $2.95 per gallon, the lowest price in the region. A gallon of super gas costs $3.54 in Costa Rica, compared to $3.08 in Guatemala.

Costa Ricans pay more than $1 in taxes per gallon of gas, according to SIECA; Honduras is the only other Central American country to pay this much in tax.

The country’s price adjustment system is also a problem, said Costa Rican Association of Gas Expeditors president Berny Ramírez.

On average, approving a gas price adjustment takes up to 20 days in Costa Rica, while other Central American countries have systems that allow for daily adjustments.

“Our system is out of sync, which hinders consumers from paying the correct price based on the international petroleum market,” Ramírez explained.

The only exception to high fuel prices is diesel, a government-subsidized product used mainly in industry and for public transport. Costa Rica has the cheapest diesel fuel in Central America ($2.43 per gallon).

 

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