The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) found a total of 22 gas stations across the country that were expending less fuel than what consumers paid for.
ARESEP officials discovered the problem while carrying out 761 inspections at the country’s 348 authorized fuel vendors. Besides the 22 stations that were under-dispensing fuel, another five had problems with fuel quality and one was sanctioned for overcharging its customers.
The latter, a gas station located in Puntarenas province, was selling a liter of Super gasoline at ₡600 ($1.08) at a time when the official per liter price was ₡502 ($0.90).
ARESEP spokeswoman Carolina Mora said inspectors proceeded to seal the altered pumps and ordered the station owners to recalibrate them.
Sanctioned fuel stations are facing fines ranging from ₡2.1 to ₡8.5 million ($3,780 to $15,300). In addition the owners could lose their business licenses, depending on the severity of their faults and whether they are repeat offenders.
The regulatory agency is now proposing to use security seals on each pump in order to curb abuses.
Faulty gas stations by province
Costa Rica’s capital San José was the province with most offending stations: five. Puntarenas followed with four, and Cartago and Alajuela had three each. Guanacaste, Heredia and Limón each had two gas stations with problems.
Despite the problems, ARESEP said the number of in-compliant stations has declined for three consecutive years. The agency attributes the decline to the expansion of its inspection program.
The Chamber of Fuel Businesses publicly said that the number of stations with problems is minimal compared to the total number of inspections conducted by the regulatory agency.
The full report including the list of all gas stations and problems found is available for download (in Spanish only) on ARESEP’s website.
Detailed information on all fuel stations in the country is also available on the agency’s mobile application EstacionesCR. The free app can be downloaded at the AppStore for iOS devices and at the Google Play Store for Android devices.
This the full list of gas stations reported with problems, by province:
-Uno La Begonia
-Estación San Juan
-Servicentro Las Avenidas
-Estación de Servicio Super Servicio ROHE
-Estación de Servicio Legacy Holding
-Estación de Servicio Marina Pez Vela
-Servicentro El Saíno
-Estación de Servicio Serviarmo
-Estación de Servicio del Surco
-Estación de Servicio La Favorita Santo Domingo
-Servicentro Costa Caribeños
-Estación de Servicio Danny Hayling
-JSM Santa Cruz