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Gas Prices and Stations

Gas stations in Costa Rica are a little different than some other countries, and have full service. This is one of the nice features in Costa Rica.

When someone arrives at a gas station to fill up the tank, they do not even have to get out of the car. Instead, they will be greeted by a station employee who will fill up the tank. It is always good to make sure the pump is registering zero before they begin filling up, but most employees announce that one checks before they start filling up your tank. There are three options of petrol here in Costa Rica: Regular, Super and Diesel.

While a vehicle is being filled up, the station employee will wash windows, check the air in the tires, check the oil, just about anything the client would like checked they will do it. Although one is not required to tip for this service, the attendant will greatly appreciate it. Gas stations accept cash, debit, or credit cards and all will be charged in colones. If clients do not ask for a receipt for personal tax purposes then one will not be given.

Petrol is provided by one sole company in Costa Rica currently called RECOPE (Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo). This means they do not have competition and do not invest in many large scale marketing campaigns.  The other excellent feature is that all of the gas stations in the entire country are required by law to charge the same, so individuals do not have to spend time driving around looking for the best price they are all the same. Because there is no price competition stations compete by providing better services or doing raffles where people can potentially win a car. Usually customers get a raffle ticket for every 5000 colones spent. Not all gas stations offer this. Most stations also offer convenient stores and provide support services like repair shops, car washes, etc.

Nevertheless, gas prices are fairly high though and are regulated by the government. Gas prices are comparable to prices you would find in any large major city in the US or higher. Almost on a weekly basis it seems, prices are either raised a lot or lowered a little. However, usually they are raised for example 30 to 100 colones and then lowered around 2 colones so it is kind of a joke. Diesel has been the better more affordable option, but now because of this the government has decided to charge double marchamo for diesel vehicles. It is because of the high gas prices that one sees so many small cars and motorcycles on the road.

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