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Diesel in Central America

April 1, 2012

(Avg. Prices in 1st Qtr 2012)


USD per US Gallon

Lowest Price per US Gallon










El Salvador









Costa Rica







Some Notes:

1)      Throughout Central America distances are relatively small and gas stations are abundant. It is not necessary to worry about finding a gas station.

2)      Costa Rica is the only country that does not post the price of its fuel on signs that are visible from the road.

3)      Fuel is usually cheaper nearer the nations’ capital and outlying areas can have significantly higher costs. Try to fill up in the bigger towns.

4)      The averages above are slightly distorted as a result of where we filled up.  For example we filled in Northern Guatemala where the fuel cost 40c per Gallon more than near the capital.


The Process

In all the countries of Central America the fuel is provided by a pump attendant. It is important to watch the pump attendant to ensure that the pump zeros before it starts. Many of them will point at the pump to show you that it has zeroed. Having a locking gas tank is good here as they can’t start pumping until you’re there.

“Lleno” is Spanish for “Fill it up”. (pronounced lye-no)

Pump attendants take the cash and will give you change. Make it clear what cash you are handing over to ensure they do not try to cheat you.

Despite the above precautions no one has tried to cheat us and the pump attendants have generally been very friendly. Many of them will also wash your windscreen and check your tyre pressures.

It is not necessary to tip the attendant but you may want to !

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rachel "Spazz" permalink
    January 5, 2013 5:20 pm

    Did you have any trouble finding diesel throughout your trip? When you did, was it the low sulfur kind that’s now standard in the US? We are doing a similar trip and are trying to do some research prior to choosing a truck. 🙂 Your advice would be so helpful! Thank you 🙂

    • January 9, 2013 4:13 pm

      Don’t expect low sulphur diesel in the overland zone. Some is very high in sulphur.

      We didn’t have any trouble getting fuel in central america – its pretty much everywhere with stations in every town.

      Picking a vehicle best thing to worry about is availability of spare parts. Although they have same cars down in the south they are often different models with different parts.


  2. August 7, 2014 4:37 am

    The price is not visible in Costa Rica because the price will be the same in ALL gas stations. There is no difference between stations in the Capital and the outlaying ones

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