TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) – U.S. and Mexican entrepreneurs with an eye for a quick buck are buying subsidized fuel in bulk in Mexico and hauling it across the U.S. border to make big profits, officials say.
With a yawning gap between the cost of Mexico’s state-subsidized fuel and record U.S. pump prices, tanker truck owners and people doing business on the border are filling up tanks or plastic barrels with Mexican fuel and selling it in the United States.
Gasoline in Mexico is around a third cheaper than in the United States. For diesel, prices are more than double — well over $4 a gallon in U.S. border states compared to just over $2 in Mexican border cities.
“It is true tanker trucks are coming from the United States to fill up with supplies in Mexico,” Mario Osuna, the head of Mexico’s consumer watchdog agency Profeco in Baja California state where Tijuana is the capital, said on Thursday.
“There is no way of sanctioning foreigners who come to Tijuana and buy gasoline to sell in their country,” Osuna told Reuters. “Mexico does not have regulations relating to that.”
Border residents who have spotted the price anomaly are jumping on the export bandwagon, taking containers of fuel over the border in pickup trucks to sell.
“We cannot deny that this type of small-scale contraband is going on,” said Joaquin Avina, president of the Association of Gas Stations of Tijuana, Tecate and Rosarito.
“The obligation of the (gasoline) companies is to sell its product — whether it’s being used to burn down a house or take it and sell it in the United States,” he added
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