Guide to Using Gas Stations in Mexico

Looking for the best guide to using gas stations in Mexico? I got you covered!

One of the best ways to explore Mexico is by driving! With so many gorgeous areas to explore, renting a car for ease of travel or planning a full-on road trip is definitely a great idea.

I’ve been lucky enough to do road trips in the Yucatan Peninsula, Baja California, Guanajuato, and all along the Pacific Coast and had nothing but great experiences.

Not only does driving give you access to more places and more freedom, but it also gives

If you’re plotting an escape to Mexico, you might be wondering how gas stations there work.

If that is the case, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to get a good idea of what pumping gasoline in Mexico is all about.

Pemex in Playa del Carmen is one of the known gas stations in Mexico.
Pemex in Playa del Carmen

How do Gas Stations in Mexico Work?

Mexican gas stations work a bit differently than they do in the US and other countries.

Although the pumps function the same way, the process and etiquette differ.

👉🏽 Is Gas Sold by the Liter in Mexico?

Gas is sold by the liter in Mexico gas stations. That is, a little less than a quart.

For practical personal purposes, you can think of them as equal because the difference is minimal.

However, if you’re one to budget every penny, 1 liter is equivalent to 1.05 quarts.

👉🏽 Are you allowed to pump your own gas in Mexico?

Pumping your own gas in Mexico is not common practice.

Gas attendants will take care of the task, from the moment you arrive at a gas station to the moment you leave.

That is to say, they’ll wave to you as soon as they see you to signal which pump will service you.

After filling up your tank, they’ll take your cash or card.

You’ll never have to get out of your car. I personally find this extremely comfortable and all you have to do is tip them a bit (if you wish to). 

👉🏽 Tipping Gas Station Attendants

Tipping is expected in Mexican gas stations, so be sure to have some cash available beforehand.

Gas attendants don’t earn the best salaries, so tips make up an important part of their income. Of course, this is not mandatory but very much appreciated.

Attendants in gas stations in Mexico usually welcome you and lead you to your pump, service you, and charge you in a friendly manner.

They’ll even clean your windshield while your car is filling up and will put air on your tires at no cost if you ask them to, so a tip is definitely well deserved.

As to how much to give them, anywhere from $10-$50 pesos is fine.

What gas stations are there in Mexico?

✔️ Pemex

This government-owned and franchised brand is the most popular, covering about 80% of the market.

✔️ G500

A multinational with relatively few stations in the country, G500 sells its own brand of fuel, which is TOP TIER certified.

✔️ British Petroleum (BP)

BP sells its own brand of gas, which is made with ACTIVE technology, touted as helping keep motors clean and up to par.

✔️ Mobil

A multinational with around 500 gas stations in Mexico using their own brand of fuel, which boasts Synergy technology, said to keep the motor clean.

✔️ Oxxo

A privately owned Mexican company functioning since 2016, they are part of the OXXO convenience store chain, so you’ll find a store on-site.

✔️ Chevron

A multinational with 227 gas stations in Mexico, they commercialize their own fuel with Techron technology, touted as keeping the motor clean.

Municipal hall in Cancun.

Types and Quality of Gasoline in Mexico

There are two main types of gasoline available in Mexico: Magna and Premium. 

Magna is standard 87 octane grade, while Premium is 92 octane and recommended for high-performance vehicles.

Gas Prices in Mexico

💰 How many pesos is a liter of gas in Mexico?

Gas prices in Mexico fluctuate and also depend on where you buy it and the company you choose.

Prices tend to be lower at the border and higher in some remote areas, but on average a liter of Magna costs $21 pesos and Premium goes for $24 pesos.

💰 How much is gas in Mexico in USD?

Gasoline in Mexico is on average $1.20 USD for Magna and $1.37 USD for Premium, although they fluctuate and vary somewhat depending on the region.

💰 How much is a full tank of gas in Mexico?

The price of a full tank in Mexico depends on the capacity, but filling up a 50-liter tank with Magna costs about $1,050 pesos ($60 USD), and $1,200 pesos ($68.5 USD) if it’s Premium.

💰 Who controls gas prices in Mexico?

Gas prices are determined by several factors, including the market, logistics costs (transportation and storage), and each company’s margin. 

The Mexican government does have some influence as they can raise or lower the IEPS, a tax applied to gasoline.

OXXO convenience store in Mexico.

Payment Options in Gas Stations

Mexico gas stations normally take cash, credit, and debit cards, as well as government and private company “vales de gasolina” or gasoline vouchers. 

However, it is always best to take some cash with you and to ask the attendant before filling up the tank just to be sure, especially if you’re in a remote area.

👍🏼 How to Keep Your Cards Safe at Gas Stations in Mexico

Gas station attendants in Mexico will normally take the card terminal to your car, which makes it pretty safe. 

Be aware if they ask to take the card with them, and tell them to bring the terminal or offer to walk with them to wherever they have it if they attempt to do so.

Gas Station Convenience Stores

✔️ Safety Tips for Using Convenience Stores in Gas Stations

Convenience stores in gas stations are usually very safe and clean, so practicing normal precautions like not letting go of your car and observing your surroundings will do.

Aerial view of Cancun.

Tips for Getting Gas in Mexico

There are many gas stations in Mexico and they are usually safe places with friendly attendants. 

However, as with everything else, I always recommend being careful and observing certain precautions to avoid having a bad experience.

Here are a few tips that will be helpful when you fill up your tank at Mexican gas stations:

📌 It is always best to take some cash with you. Even the best gas stations in Mexico occasionally have Wi-Fi flaws that will make it impossible to pay with debit or credit cards.

📌 Tips are expected (10 to 50 pesos will do)

📌 Attendants in gas stations in Mexico will usually try to sell you car oil, lubricant, or other products. They can be kind of insistent, but a couple of firms “No, gracias” will do the trick.

📌 Download the app “LitroXLitro” if you want to look for the best gasoline prices in the vicinity.

Entrance of the flea market in Cancun.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gas Stations in Mexico

What is the largest gas station chain in Mexico?

PEMEX is the largest gas station chain in Mexico, with over 8,000 of the 13,337 establishments in the country.

What is the main gas company in Mexico?

PEMEX (Petroleos Mexicanos) is a state-owned oil and gas company in Mexico, with over 8,000 gas stations, 8 refineries, and various oil platforms.

Drone view of Punta Cancun.

How many gas stations are in Mexico?

There are 13.337 gas stations in Mexico.

Why is gas so cheap in Mexico?

Actually, gas is no longer cheap in Mexico (it costs more here than in the USA). The reason for that is that, in recent years, they started importing most of their gasoline. 

However, on the border with the US, you can find lower prices because of a government subsidy that applies there.

A red bus near the hospital in Cancun, Mexico under a clear sky.

Is gas cheaper in USA or Mexico?

At the moment, gas is cheaper in the US than in Mexico, except in the cities that border the US.

Can I bring gasoline from Mexico to the USA?

You can cross the border from Mexico to the US with the gas in your tank only. You can’t bring jugs or cans of fuel, though.

Is Mexican gas bad for your car?

Mexican gas is not bad for your car at all. Gasoline in Mexico is good quality 87 or 92 octanes.

Puerto Cancun and nearby tall buildings.

Final Thoughts about Using Gas Stations in Mexico

Gas in Mexico is good quality and the experience of getting your tank filled up in Mexican gas stations is usually very easygoing, although a bit different than in the US. 

The process is pretty much the same as in the US and other countries, except that you will be attended to every step of the way, which may feel weird at first but you’ll get used to it!