The state-run oil company Petróleos Paraguayos (Petropar) has announced an increase in the price of fuel at pumps effective Saturday, Feb. 12, despite previous announcements that there would be no changes until the end of the month.
The company also allowed gas stations beyond 50 kilometers from Petropar's Villa Elisa plant, may add the cost of freight to the sale price.
Meanwhile, in the Argentine city of Posadas, authorities have set a differential price and a quota for foreigners as of Friday Feb. 11, so as to avoid drying up pumps with Paraguayan consumers who cross the border just to tank up for way less money thanks to the growing deficit between the Argentine peso and most other currencies.
Gas station owner Raúl Alonso feared sales would go down due to the new measure. I think it's absolutely unfair because when we go to Paraguay or Brazil, no one discriminates [us] or asks for differential prices.
Alonso complained about Argentine authorities putting up thousands of obstacles.”
The fuel sales quota has not been renewed since 2019 and fuel shortages have become noticeable since December on the Argentine side of the border, since gasoline in Argentina costs about half as much as in neighboring Paraguay and Brazil.
Either they give us more fuel and we sell more or we continue as before, gas stations going bankrupt every day, Alonso went on. He also pointed out there was a contradiction: provincial authorities promote tourism in Misiones, but how are we going to promote it if we don't have fuel?
Alonso also explained that stations running out of fuel does not mean they sell more, but rather that the current supply is not enough even for Argentines, since we are dealing with quotas that take the year 2019 as a reference.
The entrepreneur also insisted that if there has to be a quota it should be all across the country. “There is no shortage in Buenos Aires and the tourist corridors. There is a shortage in Misiones. How much does Misiones represent in terms of liters to an oil company?
Regarding the price for foreigners, Alonso warned that we are going to have a hard time because every time a tourist comes we will have to tell him 'you have to go to that pump because I am going to charge you more'.
From his words, it seemed he also feared locals would tank up on the Argentine side and go across the border to sell most of the fuel, keeping just enough gasoline to drive back to Argentina and start all over.
Alonso also said in a radio interview that the price for foreigners had been some sort of an overnight decision: We woke up with the news, he pointed out. He regretted the opinion of business owners like him had not been requested.
In a Global Petrol Prices report released last week, Uruguay was shown to have the most expensive gasoline in the region, due to taxes and extra costs added to the price at pumps.