Mexico's final government-directed gasoline and diesel price caps were removed to little fanfare
Starting at midnight last night, fuel retailers all over Mexico were able to set their own prices — the final step in a year-long liberalization process that was accelerated by one month. But the scarcity of independent imports has meant that state-run Pemex remains the sole supplier for most of the country's 11,700 retail stations.
New retailers — from BP and Total to Mexican brands such as Hidrosina or La Gas — have all been distributing Pemex products, at times blended with their own additives.
But the arrival of new sources of wholesale imports through companies such as US independent refiner Andeavor (previously known as Tesoro), which in October was the first company to make large-scale imports, will offer retailers an alternative.
Energy regulator CRE said today that ExxonMobil will begin fuel imports next week, commodity firm Glencore has plans to start imports in February 2018 and Valero towards the end of next year.
"We're beginning to see a wholesale market, which is very important, so that we don't only have competition in the last-mile of delivery," said head CRE commissioner Guillermo Ignacio Garcia Alcocer.
The CRE previously established that a sufficient level of competition would be reached when at least 30pc of the fuel sold in a region comes from a company other than Pemex. But large-scale imports also rely on the construction of costly new infrastructure. The open season program to open up some of Pemex's infrastructure to third parties has been indefinitely postponed, now running over six months late.