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All of Mexico's Pemex gas stations are government owned.  They carry "Magna" which  is rated at 87 octane's.," Premium" which is rated at 93 octane's and usually diesel. The pumps are color coded;  Magna  is green, premium is red and diesel is black. Diesel is not rare but is not available at every station. I would estimate that every 3 out of 4 carry it, and just about always when you are leaving for a long and lonely stretch of highway.

There are not as many gas stations in Mexico as there are in Canada or the US. Fill up when you are half full and you should be fine. If you are traveling through some very isolated territory, then fill up more often. The Baja through the Cataviña desert is an example.

If you go to an out of the way place like Bahía de los Ángeles, research ahead if possible to determine if they have a Pemex. Often in isolated areas you will see gasoline sales from the back of a truck. Beware. The prices are exorbitant and the quality of product is dubious.

Diesel seems to have lots of water. Drain it regularly. Take oil and air filters and small replacement items for your vehicle.

Pemex only accepts Mexican pesos and does not accept credit cards. Be prepared. The uniformed prices are now higher than in Canada and the US for both gas and diesel. As of November 2004 unleaded is 6.2 pesos per liter. Diesel was 5.2 pesos per liter. A good deal!

Ken McIntyre from Pomeroy Washington writes: On purchasing diesel.  I drive a '94 Dodge diesel pickup and have had 0 problems with Mexican diesel.  The secret is simple.  Fuel ONLY where the trucks and busses are fueling.  Word gets around very quickly with the truck drivers if a station has bad fuel and they all shun it.  

With all the moisture in the jungle areas, this is important.  Fueling with the truckers has the added bonus that the station turns their fuel over quickly so it's likely to be fresher and less likely to have water.  If you have to fuel in out-of-the-way places, be ready to change your fuel filters often.  I met a guy that had to change his filters every 1000 miles while in southern Mexico.

Filling Up

There is often lots of confusion when you enter a Pemex. Do not become distracted and follow a routine. Deal first with the kids that may want to wash your window. Secondly get out of the rig and ensure the meter is zeroed. Then unlock your gas tank.

There are many stories about gas station rip-offs. You are strongly encouraged to have a locking gas cap on your vehicle. This ensures that the attendant starts pumping gas once you have verified that the meter is zeroed. You will only be paying for your gas.

Give an attendant a peso tip as well as the person who cleaned your windows.




Gasoline vendors near Cataviña Bahia California



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