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CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico – With gasoline prices hovering near $4 per gallon, Texans along the U.S.-Mexico border have discovered a cheaper alternative: Mexico.
Mexican service stations all along the border report brisk sales in recent weeks as fuel prices in Texas continue to climb. Even Ciudad Juárez has seen a notable increase in customers from the United States, despite escalating drug violence that includes gunbattles in the streets and several decapitations.
In Mexico, gasoline is about a dollar cheaper a gallon because the government subsidizes it.
Mexico's state-owned petroleum company, known as Pemex, is the sole supplier of gasoline for the country's gas stations and buys nearly half of it from the U.S. because of a lack of Mexican refineries.
The savings quickly add up, said Roberto Granados, a dentist driving a silver Saab. "When I fill it up in Juárez, it's about $32 for the full tank. In El Paso, it's about $52," he said.
Gasoline station attendant Alejandro Jurado estimated that "more or less 50 percent of our customers are from El Paso," as he counted a huge wad of cash that included both pesos and dollars.