Gas prices suck. Most everyone knows this, but the situation in Mexico is really byzantine.
In order to help their finances, the government has been increasing gas prices since Zedillo’s presidency (1994-2000). The increase has been slight, one cent per month. However, during Calderón’s period, the increases have been more frequent and more expensive, as the useless government increases its greed and ineptitude, having the common people pay for it. During September alone, we’ve had something like 6 increases, and more than 20 since the year started. Gas has increased from 6.40 pesos a liter in 2006, to 7.40 in 2008.
Why is this happening? the government tells us that the gas they sell to us is subsidized; since they have to buy it from the USA at high prices, and that the increases are meant to level our gas prices with those of most countries. Then they have the gall to claim that Mexico’s gas is among the world’s cheapest. What a load of crap!
For starters, as long as they are importing fuel, they might as well buy it from Venezuela, where gas prices are a low 33 cents per liter. Buying from the USA is stupid, since they buy most of their oil from Mexico anyway. So yes, indeed the most reasonable solution would be to build a few refineries here in Mexico and produce nationally. After all, the government should be sharing the country’s resources with the population.
Then there’s the matter of oil prices. Oil goes up in price and the gas goes up as well. However, here in Mexico, things are so backwards that, when oil goes down, gas keeps going up. What gives?
Finally, those who compare gas prices in Mexico to other countries and find they’re similar, are missing one very important point: most of those countries have salaries that are way higher than in Mexico. So what good does it do that mexican gas is 10% cheaper than USA gas, when my salary is 1000% lower?
To add insult to injury, here in Mexico City owning a car is more of a liability than an advantage. You pay a fortune in gas and ownership taxes, but environmental programs forbid you from using your car several days a month (where’s my tax break for this?). When you do get to drive your car, you do so at a snail’s pace; estimates say that the average circulation speed is 15 km/h; a bicycle would be faster. But of course, the lack of road culture means riding a bike everywhere is tantamount to suicide. To top it off, either while driving or with your car safely “parked” in front of your own house, you risk being mugged, carjacked, or having your car vandalized for no apparent reason.
So there you have it; Sarcastically, I think the government’s plan is to make cars too expensive and troublesome to maintain for everyone, so that we have to travel by bike or on foot. Yeah sure, then Mexico will be at the forefront of environmental awareness! Give. Me. A. Break.