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What Does It Cost to Fill Your Tank in Latin America?

Venezuela has the cheapest fuel, while Uruguay is one of the dearest places to buy gasoline in the region

The prices of oil and gasoline have a direct relationship, according to industry sources.
February 28, 2022 | 02:29 pm

Bloomberg Línea — With the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, and other international issues, having put pressure on oil prices, and consequently the cost of gasoline at the pumps, there are still countries in Latin America in which filling up the car’s tank is not a luxury expenditure, although there is a big discrepancy in prices, depending on which country you’re in.

In fact, filling up the tank on this side of the globe is cheaper than in many other regions: In Venezuela, a major oil-producing country, although its output has declined severely in recent years, a liter of gasoline costs $0.025, according to the Global Petrol Prices website.

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But at the other extreme is Uruguay, with the most expensive liter in the region, at $1.705. The only place in the Americas with a higher price is Barbados ($1.976).

The second cheapest country in the region for fuel is Bolivia, where a liter is selling for $0.544.

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Nevertheless, Argentina could also contend for second place, where a liter of gasoline costs $0.985 if we take the official value of the dollar as a reference. However, there is an exchange rate difference of more than 100% compared to the informal market, and a tourist arriving in Buenos Aires and exchanging their currency in downtown Buenos Aires ends up paying less than 50 cents on the dollar.

The other two countries that complete the list of the five cheapest to fuel a car are Colombia ($0.608) and Haiti ($0.65), followed by Ecuador with $0.674.

In all those countries, the values are well below what a U.S. citizen would pay at home, which is $1.013.

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But there are also Latin American countries in which the price is above that of the U.S., such as Panama ($1.033), Puerto Rico ($1.042), Guatemala ($1.106), Mexico ($1.116), El Salvador ($1.117), Costa Rica ($1.193), Paraguay ($1.211), Honduras ($1.214), Nicaragua ($1.216), Peru ($1.216), Cuba ($1.253), Brazil ($1,269), Chile ($1.32) and the Dominican Republic ($1,329).

The Price of Oil

So far this year, the price of Brent crude oil has risen by more than 17%, and compared to a year ago, the increase is about 47%.

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According to an industry source, there is a fairly direct relationship between the price of oil and the value of fuel.

If you look at the liter of international gasoline, and compare it to the price of oil, there is an almost perfect relationship. There are times when the differences are even greater. For example, today gasoline is a bit expensive relative to the price of oil, due to the effects of the pandemic. But in general, the other factors have a minor impact compared to what is happening with oil, the source added.

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“In general, if the barrel of oil goes up ten dollars, the international barrel of gasoline also goes up ten dollars,” said the source.

Translated from the Portuguese by Adam Critchley.

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