TICOBULL – While gasoline prices fall, in Costa Rica it could be at least two more months before the drop in prices is reflected at the pumps.
This due to a process in Costa Rica where the state refinery that doesn’t refine anything, RECOPE. has to first to submit a request to the government regulator, the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Publico (ARESEP), which will then analyze the proposal, hold public meetings and if it agrees, order a price change, and then up to five working days for it be published in La Gaceta, the official government digest.
Only after this process is completed can prices change at the pumps.
When gas prices kept increasing, the process worked to our (the consumer) advantage. But, now that price of crude oil has fallen below US$50 a barrel, for the first time since May 2009, it is costing us. Literally.
Also, the higher prices seem to rise like a rocket when the oil price goes up. However, they only drift down slowly, like a feather, when the oil price comes down, much to the benefit of suppliers, in this case RECOPE, the only supplier of gasoline products in the country.
In most countries, people can shop around, finding deals on gasoline prices, benefiting from the competition among the energy companies.
In Costa Rica there is no competition, RECOPE is the sole importer of gasoline; retailers buy from RECOPE and sell to the consumer, at wholesale and retail prices set by the ARESEP.