BC companies agreed to maintain gasoline prices without the government subsidy, so Cofece sanctioned them with 51 million pesos.
The Federal Economic Competition Commission (Cofece) fined gas station companies in Baja California for agreeing between them to sell fuel at maximum prices to consumers without discounting the government subsidy.
The penalty of 51 million pesos corresponds to the brands Gasmart, Rendichicas, Appro, Magigas, Eco; the Colorado, Florido, Becktrop, Ravello, Dagal, and Cargas companies, as well as 11 individuals for absolute monopolistic practices in municipalities of Baja California.
The antitrust regulator also concluded that the Onexpo Baja gas station, the Tijuana Gasoline Station Association (APEGT), the Mexicali Gasoline Association (Onexpo Mexicali), and four natural persons promoted such illegal activities.
“The sanctioned anticompetitive practices consisted of agreements between competitors to keep gasoline prices at the maximum price determined by the Federal Executive, through the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP),” explained the Commission chaired by Alejandra Palacios in a statement.
To achieve “unity in the sector” regarding the price of gasoline in Tijuana, Gasmart, Appro, Ravello and Eco agreed to maintain the price of gasoline without giving government discounts.
The Treasury announced that maximum prices for sale to the public would come into effect from January 2015. Based on this new policy, vendors could independently offer lower prices than the maximum to win the preference of consumers.
In 2017, the Gasmart, Rendichicas, Colorado, Magigas, Cargas, Dagal, Becktrop, and Eco brands met and exchanged emails and WhatsApp messages to avoid applying the subsidy granted by the government to gasoline.
The estimated overpricing caused by anti-competitive practices was 10 cents per liter in Tijuana and up to 60 cents per liter in Mexicali, damage to the market of 27.4 million pesos.