Mexican Gas Stations Seeing Changes

No, not concerning prices coming down. Other stuff

Costco opened its first gas station in the state of Guanajuato this week, its fourth in Mexico. The spiffy new station cost $3.3 million. They’re selling Costco’s Kirkland Signature gasoline brand, and sure it comes from the States, but so does most gas. Mexico has very little refining capabilities. Maybe that goes a long way toward explaining the cost of a gallon of gas costing about $3.65 a gallon.

The company assured customers that they will get what they pay for and won’t be short poured here. Yes, he actually said that, acknowledging the elephant in the room where gas is sold. They will only accept credit or debit cards and members who use their Costco card get a 3% discount.

Meanwhile, The British oil and gas company BP continues its expansion into Mexico by opening its first ToGo convenience store in this country, where it also introduced its Wild Bean Café to customers. This station is in Guadalajara. The new store and its coffee is part of a strategy to transform the concept of service stations in Mexico now that stations other than Pemex are allowed. BP operates the Wild Bean Café brand in 1,200 convenience stores in 11 countries. In Mexico, the company has more than 350 gas stations. And peering at the pictures, it does appear that BP’s convenience store is a lot nicer than the Oxxos.

Meanwhile stodgy old Pemex appears to be running scared, as the government owned oil company is sporting a new look. The new gas station design was officially inaugurated last week in the state of México. Poo. Always at the end of the line, Baja doesn’t get anything cool.

The head of the company’s industrial transformation division said the new design will be incorporated at 45 stations this year, eight new ones and 37 boring old stations will be renovated. Carlos Murrieta Cummings said the new concept “is intended to maintain the franchise’s leadership in the domestic marke.” See? They just admitted they’re running scared.  “The new image breaks with the conventional and projects a new Pemex: a highly competitive business in an open market,” he said in the announcement.

Murrieta added the new design reflects an eagle in flight, “a leader, strong and agile, with its wings extended towards new challenges.” Murrieta also said the company’s objective is to provide the highest standards of customer service, offering its clients experience, reliability, modernity and innovation. Ha ha ha! Since when? Since President Pena Nieto broke Pemex’s stranglehold on the gas monopoly and invited in competition. Since then they’re trying a tiny bit harder. They’re still short pouring and short changing, and they’re still losing buckets of money.

Well, the general manager of the first Pemex franchise to sport the new look did say its sales have doubled since the new design was incorporated in mid-June. With prices fixed, maybe appearances and service do count.