In last week's entry, I wrote about the demise of differential fuel prices in Argentina but, as I subsequently heard from Charly Sandoval of Yacutinga Lodge, near the famous Iguazú Falls, the matter has not gone away completely in Argentine Mesopotamia, the area between the Paraná and Uruguay rivers. As petroleum prices have fallen in Chile, the Argentine government has eliminated the differentials there, but Charly writes that "Differences in fuels for foreigners and locals in Misiones province still apply. Perhaps they are going in the near future to cancel this ridiculous disposition..." but, as this photo from Puerto Iguazú shows, there are different pump prices for Argentine and foreign vehicles (full disclosure: this photo was taken last year, when prices were lower for everyone than they are today).
Still, as he says, "There are plenty of Paraguayans and Brazilians searching for better fuel prices. Being Misiones surrounded by these two countries, the situation here is delicate" as fuel prices are higher there. But, he adds, "Without this price distortion, we were unable to fuel our own transportation in the past. Fuel smuggling all kinds of crazy situations were common some time ago. The price differentiation is ridiculous but it's also ridiculous the situation of running out of diesel for our own working vehicles because foreigners deal with the advantage of the low price and the peso devaluation."
While the measure can be irritating to those of us who travel with foreign vehicles (my own car has Chilean plates), it only rarely affects overseas tourists. If you rent a car with Argentine plates, for instance, you will pay Argentine prices; on the other hand, if you rent a Brazilian vehicle and enter Argentina, you will still pay Brazilian prices for fuel. I expect, although I'm not sure, that the same is true for Uruguayan vehicles, as fuel prices are traditionally much higher there than in Argentina.