Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ingenuity of Laredoans

La raza can be ingenious in many respects.

My better half and I have taken trips into Mexico's interior where we just marvel at how citizens can accomplish the improbable with guts and determination. For instance, there have been a few times where I have been in a nervous awe while driving behind pickup trucks in central Mexico that are stacked to the brim and beyond with cardboard and other items. And just as the truck in question navigates a sharp turn I feel certain that it will totter over the edge of the road. Yet, somehow it manages to circumvent the laws of physics and remain upright until the next harrowing turn.

As the saying goes: poverty is a great motivator.

While there may be something to marvel at Mexico's culture, the story in today's Laredo Times about a Laredoan selling gasoline from his home fails to strike the same chord.

In this case all I could conjure up was, "Wow. I am glad they are not my neighbor."

I guess you could always chalk it up to: "only in Laredo."


  1. I wonder what his response was when the cops showed up at his door.

    "Was that wrong?"
    "I didn't know this sort of thing was frowned upon."

    And as they're hauling him away, he's yelling, "a si,dies shotas aqui por estar vendiendo gasolina. Pero si les hablo que se robaron algo de mi casa, no vienen!"

    I'd like to know where he/she got the gasoline from. I'll wait and see.

  2. Someone at work mentioned a story about someone enlarging their gas tank and then driving over to Mexico for cheaper gas.

    Things are starting to get a little Mad Max out there..

  3. "enlarging their gas tanks."

    That's an after-factory modification. (grand jury term)

    It's getting so tough out there that smugglers are actually using their gas tanks for gasoline.

    What's a playa to do?

  4. Think the fuel tank alteration is a legit biz. Found the following from Wall St. Journal article..

    Gasoline is selling for six pesos per liter across the border in Tijuana, which works out to about $2.50 a gallon, way cheaper than gas prices approaching $5 a gallon in San Diego County. Diesel fuel is cheaper still -- $2.19 a gallon.

    All of this is a boon for James Blue's auto shop, located in a strip mall in the arid hills east of downtown San Diego. His business, Express Performance Center, installs extra-large fuel tanks in pickups and other work vehicles used for runs to fill up with cheap gas in Mexico.

    Already this month, Mr. Blue's shop has installed 12 tanks, more than he sold in all of last year. He expects demand to grow throughout the summer. Bulk fuel users, including farmers and construction contractors, are his best customers, he says. Many drive to Mexico several times a week, often looking to bring enough fuel back to sell to neighbors and co-workers.

    "It's a daily thing for some: run across the border and fill up," explains Mr. Blue, an easygoing 36-year-old. His garage charges plenty to install either a 75-gallon or 98-gallon tank; the tanks fit snugly across the back of a pickup truck bed, against the cab. Special "t" switches let a driver alternate between gasoline sources. Big tanks cost $1,700 installed, while the smaller models go for $1,300.

    Either is a bargain, says Gustavo Robinson, a plumber who works for the public school district of Chula Vista, Calif., a nearby border community. The 75-gallon tank he installed this week and the original 28-gallon tank he'll keep using will allow him to save at least $200 when he fills up in Mexico. With vacation trips planned for Las Vegas and San Francisco, he expects to do that a lot this summer.

    The gas rush is also good for Mr. Blue's principal supplier, Transfer Flow Inc. of Chico, Calif. Marketing director Warren Johnson says the company is enjoying one of its best seasons in 25 years. In May, Transfer Flow moved more than half a million dollars worth of larger replacement and refueling tanks to wholesale and retail customers. Mr. Johnson says hundreds of tanks are on order to dealers in border states.

  5. They are sticking it to Big (U.S.) Oil. Love it.