Christmas is arriving early in Costa Rica this year, a reduction in gasoline prices that will take effect next month.

On Friday, the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo (RECOPE) – Costa Rica’s refinery that refines nothing – submitted to the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (ARESEP) a request for a reduction of ¢28 colones for a liter of super gasoline and ¢23 for regular.

Drop in gasoline prices expected first week in November

The request would reduce the current cost of ¢632 for regular to ¢604 and regular from ¢603 to ¢580. However, the cost of diesel will increase from the current ¢507 to ¢513.

What the decrease means for the average family with an average car with a gasoline tank of 45 liters, a savings of ¢1.260 for super and ¢1,035 for regular. For an average fill-up of one a week, the savings equal to ¢5.418 and ¢4.405, respectively. (The calculation is based on 4.3 weeks per month).

This is the fourth price drop this year and a surprise. The RECOPE says that the drop is a result from more ‘favorable conditions to acquire the imported products in the international market”.

In contrast, there had been speculation and fear that the effects of Hurricane Harvey would have pushed up gasoline prices in Costa Rica.

“It should be noted that the behavior in the international price that allows this reduction in local prices is due to the gradual normalization of the operations of the refineries and other related infrastructure after the passage of Hurricane Harvey by the Gulf Coast of the United States,” RECOPE said in a statement.

The Process
The Aresep now has 15 calendar days to authorize the adjustment; a decision that must then be published in the official newspaper La Gaceta within five days of the decision and the price change taking effect the day following publication.

This means that the price drop should take effect Wednesday, November 1 and Friday, November 3.

According to the current methodology for fuel prices; RECOPE can and most likely will request another extraordinary price adjustment on Friday,  November 10.

Gasoline Prices In Costa Rica
Gasoline prices in Costa Rica are regulated. The final price at the pump is set by the RECOPE, which then must be approved or rejected by the Aresep and applied to all gasoline stations across the country.

The gasoline is exclusively imported by the RECOPE and distributed to gasoline retailers. In effect, it is the same gasoline at all the pumps and at the same price. What varies is the added services provided by the retailer (gas station).

Don’t Pump Your Own Gas
There are no ‘self-serve’ pumps in Costa Rica. If, as many foreigners are accustomed to, want to pump your own gas, ask first. Don’t make the rookie mistake of trying to do it yourself, unless you want to get some awful hard stares from the pump attendants and sometimes even the long speech about security, which translates into job security.

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