Visiting a Gas Station in Mexico

by Jim on 18 September 2010

The other day I stopped at the gas station.  Nothing unusual, right?  Well, no, it wasn’t.  But it occurred to me that you might be interested in hearing what it’s like here, since it might be different in your country.  So, here’s a brief description.

If you’re not interested, go read another post. 🙂

Pemex gas station in Ixtapaluca

In Mexico, all the gas stations are owned by Pemex, one of the world’s top 100 companies.  This is handy because you never have to worry that you didn’t get the best price – prices are the same at every gas station (or, you could say, you miss out on "the hunt"!).

Gas prices here tend to be very reasonable compared to the rest of North America.  However, prices have been rising steadily this year, after a freeze on prices last year.

I pulled up to the pump and asked the attendant to fill it up with Magna – short for magna sin, which is regular unleaded.  Usually I don’t even mention what type, but if I’m on the road once in a while an unscrupulous attendant will just start filling with premium (expensive and unnecessary for my vehicle).

The attendant always points out that the pump has been reset to zeros (yes, back in the day this was another favourite trick of unscrupulous gas attendants).

While it’s filling, sometimes the attendant will ask if I need anything else checked on the vehicle (oil, tires, etc).  But usually they’ll just go help someone else or clean a window or two.

When it’s filled, the attendant tells me the total and I give him the cash (cash, cash, everything in cash…).  I’ll be sure to ask him for a receipt.

In this case, the attendant came back with my change and also gave me two lollipops.  No, not for my kids – I was alone.  A lot of adults can be seen going around sucking on lollipops here in Mexico – deal with it.

Then, of course, I gave him a tip.  A few pesos here, a few pesos there – it adds up, believe me!

This gas station had a convenience store – an Oxxo (owned by a Mexican company.  It’s like the Japanese-owned 7-11, but no Slurpees.  Actually, there are 7-11s in Mexico, but they don’t have any Slurpees either.  I want a Slurpee!).

So, I picked up a few things there for the trip home.

Then I had to make sure I had some spare pesos for the WC.

This was a fancy bathroom/restroom/loo/whatever you want to call it.  You put 3 pesos into a little box outside the Men’s Room, and the door automatically unlocks.  Often there’s someone standing there to take your money, or you just leave the pesos somewhere.  And once in a while, it’s even free!

I went in and found quite a nice place – the toilets even had toilet seats.  But – oops, forgot the toilet paper.

I went back outside, propping open the door (I don’t want it to lock again!), and I asked the WC attendant for some toilet paper.  No problem – after all, I had paid my pesos.

This place even had soap and running water to wash my hands with.  No, wait – not sure if there was soap.  Anyway, I wish I could remember where it was – nice place. 😉

Sometimes I wonder why I’m paying pesos when there is no water, soap, toilet seats, etc.  But that’s just one of those mysteries.

That was pretty much it!  I continued with my drive.

And now you like what it’s like to visit a gas station in Mexico.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle in Mx September 18, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Well – a few of our pemexes let us pay with “tarjeta” they are especially keen to accept American Express. Otherwise everything is the same here.

Bradley September 18, 2010 at 7:49 pm

My brother worked at a gas station in high school and the upper right container of oil was the “dummy” one that was always empty so they would top up the oil, empty the “full” container in and charge you. That was back in the day when you signed the credit card carbons on those little trays. Funny thing was that they changed the $11 to $44 on my parent’s slip and when my brother went in to ask about this obvious error he was fired. However, during the firing a man rode a bicycle into a pump, he fell off and ran away. My brother had no ride home so he picked up the bike and left the station for good assuming that the bicycle wasn’t his since he fled the scene on foot. I’ve never been comfortable since.

Grandma C. September 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Yes, a lot of what you mentioned is different there. The only place I can remember having to have a coin to get into a washroom here in Canada was at the main bus terminal in Toronto. I don’t know if it’s the same now – that was a very long time ago.

And the lollipops! Now I know how you happened to drop a stick from one in the pool when the kids started their swimming lessons.

RebeccaC November 28, 2010 at 12:18 am

Hmm. A loo with a locking door, attendant, toilet paper AND seats? I think that one is in Hermosillo! lol

Oxxo does have one cool Slurpee-type thing. It’s called a “K-Freeze”. It’s a frozen coffee drink with cream and chocolate sprinkles. At 20 pesos (about $2), you can’t beat it! Provecho! ;^)

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