Difference between Huachicol and Normal Gasoline

In Mexico it is known as huachicoleo (or guachicoleo) to the action of theft and subsequent ILLEGAL sale of gasoline and diesel. The difference between the huachicoleo and the regular sale of gasoline is precisely the origin of it. Huachicol is the name given to illegally obtained gasoline.

At the end of December 2018 and the beginning of 2019, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, as a measure to combat huachicoleo, decided to close the gasoline transport pipelines and begin distributing it in tankers. This resulted in a shortage of gasoline in at least 10 Mexican states not seen in years. In this situation, the best thing to do is to be well informed, without panicking and to know the situation as well as possible.

Comparison chart

regular gasoline
Definition The word huachicol is of Mayan origin ( Waach-Huache ) and is used to designate something or someone that is foreign, that is not local. Later this word began to be used to refer to something that is of poor quality or false. At first the term huachicol was used to talk about tequila adulterated with cane alcohol. Later the word “huachicol” began to be used to refer to the stolen gasoline. Huachicolero, therefore, is the person who is dedicated to stealing and selling said fuel. Gasoline is a mixture of hydrocarbons whose main component is oil. This is used as fuel for motor vehicles (internal combustion). Gasoline is produced and sold by different companies in the world. Many countries produce their own fuel, however most must import it. In Mexico it is possible to find two types of gasoline; the magna (87 octane) and the premium (92 octane).
Background In Mexico there is an area called the Red Triangle that covers six municipalities in the state of Puebla. 40% of the gasoline destined for Mexico City must pass through these municipalities before reaching its destination. In these municipalities there are networks of criminal groups dedicated to the search and excavation and subsequent illegal drilling of gasoline transport pipelines. Once they locate the pipelines, they drill through them and start ‘milking’ them. The product of this milking is illegally obtained gasoline. This gasoline is later, distributed and sold in small and large volumes at half (and even less than half) of its real price. The oil industry in Mexico is controlled by the state. Mexico itself is a very important country worldwide in terms of oil. It is in fact the sixth producer of crude oil and the tenth to export it. In 1938 Pemex was founded, after nationalizing this sector. However, in recent years Pemex reserves have been falling out of control. This is due to the lack of investment and the great economic burden that was given to him, as he was the main supporter of the State. One of the consequences of this is that Mexico must import almost 40% of the gasoline that is consumed. As part of the Energy Reform, new gas station brands and alliances arrived in Mexico, taking away Pemex’s exclusivity in Mexican territory.
Some data
  • The Mexican oil company Pemex has estimated that an average loss of 9 million liters of gasoline per day is recorded due to the huachicoleo.
  • The Mexican states that lead with clandestine drilling of huachicol are Puebla, Tlaxcala, Veracruz and Hidalgo.
  • In 2017, Pemex sold 443,050 million pesos in gasoline.
  • By 2018, Pemex had already lost 21% of its share of the gasoline market. This means that around 2,400 gas stations are of other brands than Pemex.
  • In fact, in February 2018, Pemex produced only 164,000 barrels of gasoline. This level is the lowest since 1990.
Status Illegal. Legal and regulated.

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