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Opinion
Ricardo Castillo
Ricardo Castillo Fuel for April Fools The ideological measure of letting foreign oil companies in will surely bring dire effects to the already battered Peña Nieto administration
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In case I did not know the Mexican government’s dirty tricks to get an extra peso from my pocket, the news that as of today Gulf oil is openly competing in gas stations with imported fuels would be good news.

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto shake hands with Carlos Romero Deschamps (L), leader of the oil workers union of state-oil monopoly Pemex during the 78th anniversary of the expropriation of Mexico's oil industry in Mexico City, March 18, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Edgard Garrido

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto shake hands with Carlos Romero Deschamps (L), leader of the oil workers union of state-oil monopoly Pemex during the 78th anniversary of the expropriation of Mexico’s oil industry in Mexico City, March 18, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Edgard Garrido

Yet there is a catch to this new “competition.” The Mexican government continues to set the gasoline and diesel prices to its own convenience, hence there may be new players in the supply market but there is no competition.

It’s not odd that President Enrique Peña Nieto chose this particular date to slap those of us who drive a vehicle with his idea that with his energy reforms now Mexico is an open international market.

It’s Fool’s Day, ya dummies.

The government controlled prices of fuels will remain exactly the same, that is to say, twice the price they cost in the United States of America. Twice.

So what’s within the new competitive scam – pardon me, scheme – that President Peña Nieto is presenting to local car owners?

From an ordinary car owner, it’s more of the same. Peña Nieto’s much touted Energy Reforms bring no visible benefit to Mexican consumers. On the contrary, should Peña Nieto ever need more enemies, the incursion of Gulf filling stations into the national market will only enhance the view that Peña Nieto is a “traitor.”

Lest we forget the supply of gasoline and diesel has been controlled by the government monopoly since 1938 and it was always a source of nationalism and pride to know that “el petroleo es nuestro” — that is, the oil is ours.

The ideological measure of letting foreign oil companies in will surely bring dire effects to the already battered Peña Nieto administration. It’s stance on opening the oil market to foreign companies was never a popular one. In fact, during the presidential push for the reforms in Congress, there was a move to have a national referendum on them. The president, aware that his reforms would be shot down, did everything to avoid the people’s voice.

It’s a reminder to the Peña Nieto administration that he continues to be a minority president and that his arrival in power came with only 38 percent of the national vote.

His voice could not have stood ground for a referendum on his energy reforms, good or bad as the may be.

In any case, as of now, you drivers may buy gringo-distilled gasoline at a competitive price which means that if you pay two dollars a gallon in the U.S. side of the border, it costs four in Mexico.

This is the idea of “competitiveness” as slated by the greedy Peña Nieto administration.

It’s Fools Day, indeed.

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