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Despite being called a refinery, RECOPE imports most of the finished fuel products its distributes in the country. RECOPE is also the sole distributor of fuels in Costa Rica. Local gasoline stations purchase fuel  from RECOPE for resale.  The ARESEP sets the wholesale price to the gasoline stations and the retail price to the consumer.

The state refinery, the Refinadora de Petroleo Costarricense (RECOPE) says it has paid out some ¢100 million colones to vehicle owners who filed complaints of damages to their vehicles due to bad gasoline.

RECOPE said the additive present in its fuels may have caused the damages, mainly to catalyst converters, whose function is to prevent the vehicle from emanating gaseous pollutants.

In the pay out, RECOPE said there was one vehicle that was a total write off, the owner recieving the single largest compensation of ¢11 million colones.

Last month, 56 cases were resolved thorugh conciliation, with a total pay out of ¢83 million colones. Meanhile 68 other cases are still pending, meaning the state institution will have dig deeper into its pockets.

A total of 192 complaints were filed with the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (ARESEP)  – the regulating government body – of the presence of Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT or MCMT), marketed as a supplement to the gasoline additive tetraethyllead to increase a fuel’s octane rating.

Some manufacturers recommend against use of MMT in their vehicles.