Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Fill ‘er up!

Not too long ago I was in Ohio, fussing about the skyrocketing price of gas and feeling the shock of paying big bucks at the pump.

While I still understand this frustration for friends and family in the US, my sympathy has waned in the last months as we've paid $50 to fill up the tank on an economy car. Gas prices are high here and going up. Regular is selling for about 584 colones a liter in Costa Rica—that’s about $4.25 a gallon for us gringos.

Interestingly enough, the price of gas isn’t published on giant marquees as it is in the US. You don’t know what you’ll pay until you pull up to the pump, but since the government regulates the price of gas, it doesn’t matter which gas station you frequent—a liter of gas costs the same throughout the nation.

These fixed prices eliminate driving around for a bargain—but even if prices were varied and published, gas stations are scarce enough once you leave highly populated areas of the central valley that when you see one, you’re just happy it’s there. (Even in the central valley there are not stations every few blocks, as often seen in the United States, and you need to know where the gas stations are.) We have seen maps on which the only landmarks are gasolineras.

Thankfully Dan no longer has a gas-guzzling commute and we have a couple of gas stations not far from here.

On the flip of all this is the nicest thing about getting gas in Costa Rica: The stations are all full-service, just like they used to be in the United States. You just tell the attendant what type of gas you’d like and he offers to check your oil, the air in your tires, or to clean your windshield. What a pleasure!

It’s too bad we haven’t seen a resurgence of full-service up north in the middle of winter. Chalk it up to one of the many things I will miss about Costa Rica when our time here ends.

1 comment:

Manic Mom said...

Hey C!! Stephanie here! When we lived in PA, they had full-serves and self-serves. In NJ they had ONLY full-service pumps. Great for winter, that's for sure!

I am enjoying reading about your adventures!