Near the Mexican border, something strange is happening. Motorists are driving across international boundaries to fill their gas tanks with cheaper fuel and save some money, but it’s not Californians driving to Mexico.
Gasoline has gotten expensive in Mexico, and protests about pricey gas are apparently blocking deliveries of the much-needed fuel.
Which is why drivers near the U.S. border in the Mexican state of Baja California are willing to wait for hours in each direction just to fill up on gas that is slightly cheaper.
The current gas price in Mexico now converts to about $2.815 per gallon. It’s about ten cents lower in California, but climbing as demand rises.
Bloomberg interviewed an employee at a station a few blocks away from the border, who said that the station is selling three to four times as much gas as usual, having to refill its tanks daily. Cars line up ten deep at the pumps.
A very complex mix of issues have caused the price hike and the protests. For the first time since 1938, foreign fuel providers will be allowed to sell to Mexico. The government sets a nationwide price for gasoline, and raised it about 20% to attract business from foreign companies.
Gas prices are what set off the protests, but the Guardian explains that the root cause is a perception that government officials are getting rich while average consumers are losing buying power as gas prices increase while wages remain flat.
“When gasoline prices go up, everything else goes up: tortillas, public transportation, everything,” one protester told the Guardian.