San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Fuel Prices Go Down, But Water Bill Goes Up

The good news: You will soon be paying less at the gas pump. The bad news: You will be paying more for water – on average, about 26 percent more.

Amid the worst inflation in a decade, the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) authorized rate changes for gasoline and diesel, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder, train tickets and water.

Beginning at midnight Monday, diesel prices will drop by 10 percent, from ¢726 (about $1.32) per liter to ¢650 ($1.18) per liter. Super gasoline drops by just 1.9 percent from ¢736 per liter to ¢722 per liter, and regular will fall from ¢721 to ¢708, a 1.8 percent decrease.

Oil prices internationally have been falling dramatically as the U.S. financial crisis has worsened and spread globally in recent weeks.

The price of cylinders of LPG gas, commonly used for cooking, will go down by 17 percent. In a statement released Oct 3, ARESEP said the price decrease looks to encourage families that depend on wood or coal for cooking (9 percent of the country as of 2006) to use LPG.

“This source of energy is more efficient, less contaminating and, unlike firewood, it doesn’t have negative effects on deforestation,” ARESEP said.

As of Oct 13, water bills across the country will rise, boosting the Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) profit margin to 4.7 percent, allowing for more investment in infrastructure, ARESEP said.

Price increases for water will depend on usage and represent an increase of between 13 percent and 120 percent. ARESEP said the average increase will end up being 26.6 percent. The agency also approved water rate hikes of 8.1 percent for 2010 and 7.4 percent for 2011.

San José’s diesel passenger train, which runs from the Universidad Latina in eastern San José to the western neighborhood of Pavas, is also authorized to change its fares.

Instead of a flat ¢300 fee for all passengers, the rate will depend now on the distance of travel.

Between the Universidad Latina and the Pacific Station, the fare is ¢200. Traveling from the station to Pavas will cost the same. The fare for the entire route, however, will increase to ¢400.

–Leland Baxter-Neal


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