The hidden costs of gasoline in Costa Rica

The hidden costs of gasoline in Costa Rica

Organisation: La Nación (Costa Rica) (Costa Rica)

Publication Date: 03/06/2015



It is a series of investigative articles. For this contest, we are submitting two to the jury. They were developed upon the construction and analysis of databases, and in them it is disclosed why Costa Rica is home to the most expensive fuels in Central America. In the first article, the investigation brought to light the existence of a hidden subsidy in the price formula, created by the Public Services Regulatory Body in November 2008, to cheapen gas and asphalt and to increase the price of diesel and gasoline, the most used fuels in Costa Rica. The analysis, based on the creation of a database, established that said cost was incorporated through a mathematical maneuver with the aim of lowering the prices of asphalt and gas, used mainly by businesses. As a result of this eye-opener, in January 2015, the Regulatory Body found itself under pressure to accelerate the steps to modify the methodology to calculate prices and eliminate the subsidy. Also, it was prompted to define a mechanism to establish prices which is more transparent and more easily understood by customers. The second installment shows how, even though Costa Rica imports gasoline at the lowest price in the region, by the time it is sold to customers it becomes the most expensive one because of the heavy load of taxes, administrative and service costs; in addition to the mentioned subsidy. In this installment, use patterns and their impact on the environment were also evaluated. In each article, the methodology upon which the story is based is explained to the reader and plugins to share in social networks are included; in addition, the reader has the option to enter the debate directly in Twitter through the inclusion in the text of the hashtag #Combustiblescr.
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