Sky-high US prices have led some American motorists to make a previously unheard-of trip across the border to fill up their tanks with cheaper gas in Mexico, according to a report Monday.
Gas sales in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, which sits just across the border from El Paso, Texas, were up more than 52% in May compared to the same month one year ago. Gas is available for $3.11 per gallon for Juarez while selling for $4.03 just miles away in El Paso.
The cheaper costs have prompted an uptick of foreign visitors at gas stations on the Mexican side of the border – with one local gas station attendant noting his surprise at seeing Americans pulling up in luxury vehicles to take advantage of the difference, Bloomberg reported. Ironically, the US is the top seller of refined petroleum products to Mexico.
“For their whole lives, people from here — businessmen and everyone else — have gone to buy gas in El Paso,” Ivan Escogida, a gas station attendant in Juarez, told the outlet. “Now the tables have turned.”
Gas prices have steadily improved throughout the US in recent weeks as concerns about a potential recession weigh on oil prices. The national average was $4,355 per gallon as of Monday morning, down from an all-time high of $5,016 on June 14, according to AAA.
Still, prices at the pump are much higher than they were at this time last year, when motorists could score a gallon of gas for the comparatively low cost of $3,155.
President Biden has faced widespread pressure to address steep gas prices, with critics arguing his policies have contributed to the problem. Gas helped drive inflation to 9.1% in June as prices at the pump hit record highs.
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has poured money into the country’s fossil fuel industry, noted the gas price disparity during a recent meeting with Biden at the White House.
“While we waited for prices to go down, we have allowed Americans who live close to the border to fill their tanks with gas on the Mexican side at lower prices,” Lopez Obrador said.
Lopez Obrador, widely known as AMLO, also offered to double gas shipments to stations along the border, according to Bloomberg.
While Biden and top administration officials have argued their efforts to bring down prices are making progress, some critics have questioned whether the White House’s victory lap is premature, given ongoing supply constraints and the onset of peak summer driving season.