An old gas station in the United States, where gasoline prices are low

Gasoline Prices in the Americas in 2021

A new report on gasoline prices in the Americas has highlighted drops in gas prices in Colombia and Ecuador in the first half of 2021, while Bolivia, Chile, and Venezuela saw little or no change. 

A photo of a gas station. Gasoline prices rose in many countries in the Americas in the first half of 2021.
Gasoline prices vary in the Americas

Although the rest of the region saw gasoline prices rise, it was only in Argentina, El Salvador, and Panama that they rose more than in the United States and Canada.

The news will be of interest to investors and businesses operating in the region, especially those engaged in logistics, or reliant on the services of logistics and haulage companies.

SEE ALSO: Starting a Business in Chile: Some Considerations

According to the report, published by international e-commerce platform Picodi, the first half of 2021 was characterized by general rises in gasoline prices in many countries around the globe as economies gradually reactivated following economic stagnation in 2020 caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

That saw gasoline prices rise in the United States and Canada by 23.5% and 23.8% respectively between January and June of this year. The only countries surveyed in the Americas to witness greater rises were Argentina (49.2%), Panama (25.6%), and El Salvador (25.1%).

However, significant rises were witnessed elsewhere around the region, with Brazil (23.3%), Nicaragua (23.1%), the Dominican Republic (20.6%), and Puerto Rico (20.2%) all seeing gasoline prices increase by more than one fifth. 

The best performers in the survey in terms of changes in gasoline prices were Colombia, which saw the price of gasoline drop 0.8% over the period, and Ecuador, which witnessed a 0.7% decrease in the price of gasoline. Both Bolivia and Venezuela saw no change, while Chile saw a negligible rise of 0.1%.

Gasoline prices in Latin America: what the changes mean

While Argentina saw the greatest increase in gasoline prices, with average gas prices standing at $0.91 per liter (all figures in USD), it still has some of the most reasonably priced gasoline in the region, with only seven of the 21 countries surveyed having cheaper gas. Those include both Guatemala ($0.89 per liter) and Panama ($0.81 per liter).

Meanwhile, Chile ($1.22 per liter) is only outstripped by Uruguay ($1.35 per liter) among the most expensive countries for buying gasoline in the region.

Chile and Uruguay are joined by Cuba ($1.20 per liter) as having more expensive gas prices than Canada ($1.16 per liter), while 11 more countries from the region have higher gasoline prices than the United States ($0.82 per liter). 

Notably, the countries that saw no change or reductions in gas prices are the cheapest countries in the region for buying vehicle fuel. 

While Venezuela’s heavily subsidised petrol stands out as being the cheapest — at just $0.002 per liter for the first 120 liters, before rising to $0.50 per liter — Ecuador ($0.49 per liter), Bolivia (0.54 per liter) and Colombia ($0.60 per liter) feature at the bottom of the table for gasoline prices.

Putting gasoline prices in the Americas into context

While the total cost of gasoline in any given country will be of most interest to international investors and businesses, the report provides another layer of analysis to contextualize gasoline prices in the region — namely the number of liters of gas that an average monthly salary can buy.

A photo of someone pumping gas into a car. Gasoline prices range around the region, as does affordability.
Gasoline affordability ranges around the region

While Cuba stands out as the country where gasoline is most prohibitively expensive to the local population — with an average salary buying just 26 liters of fuel — it is notable that Venezuela’s shattered economy after years of economic mismanagement means that an average salary still only buys 230 liters of gasoline, despite a liter costing a fraction of a penny.

The United States (4,723 liters per average salary), Canada (2,616 liters), and Puerto Rico (2,264 liters) stand out head and shoulders above the rest for having the most affordable gasoline prices for their local populations.

Two of the countries with the cheapest gasoline prices follow them as having the most affordable fuel for local people, with an average salary in Ecuador buying 965 liters and an average salary in Bolivia affording 954 liters.

After them come Panama (909 liters per average salary), Chile (712 liters), and Costa Rica (711 liters) — three of the most highly developed and prosperous economies in the region.

MarketAverage price per litre of gasoline (USD)Liters of gas per average monthly salary
Dominican Republic$1.12300
Costa Rica$1.07711
El Salvador$0.91414
United States$0.894,723
Puerto Rico$0.822,264
Venezuela$0.002 230
Average gasoline price per liter and liters of gasoline an average salary can buy in countries surveyed (Source: Picodi)

Biz Latin Hub can help you doing business in Latin America 

At Biz Latin Hub, we have multilingual teams of back-office service experts ready to help you launch and do business in eighteen markets around Latin America and the Caribbean. With our comprehensive portfolio of corporate support solutions, including accounting & taxation, company formation, corporate law, and recruitment services, we can be your single point of contact for entering and doing business in the region.

Contact us now to discuss your business options.

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The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
Craig Dempsey

Craig Dempsey

Craig is a seasoned business professional in Latin America. He is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Biz Latin Hub Group that specializes in the provision market entry and back office services. Craig holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering, with honors and a Master's Degree in Project Management from the University of New South Wales. Craig is also an active board member on the Australian Colombian Business Council, and likewise also active with the Australian Latin American Business Council.

Craig is also a military veteran, having served in the Australian military on numerous overseas missions and also a former mining executive with experience in various overseas jurisdictions, including, Canada, Australia, Peru and Colombia.

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