Just a word to the wise: if you rent a car, you’ll need to buy gas for the car. Be aware of the fact that the closer you get to the airport, the bigger the chance that you may get scammed by a Pemex attendant. They’re aware it’s a rental car, you’re filling up prior to returning it and that you’re probably in a rush — they rely on that knowledge and might be tempted to scam you.
The biggest scam: they fill the vehicle, you give them US$50 and expect change. The attendant disappears with your US$50, only to return with a US$1 or $5, saying “senor, you give me the wrong amount…” What are you going to do? Call the cops and miss your flight?
Sometimes they won’t even disappear — another attendant will distract you (“Senor, would you like the window washed?) and during the distraction, the attendant holding your money will switch out your bill for a lower-denomination bill.
The other scam (and it happened to me): the attendant filling the vehicle distracts you by asking how your vacation was, whatever, and gets you to stop watching the pump (which you should be doing). Meanwhile, his buddy somehow resets the pump to read higher than what was pumped (it may be some kind of diagnostic mode). When it happened to me, I noticed out of the corner of my eye another attendant at the pump and when he quickly left, it turned out that it took 17 gallons to fill our rental car — and on the way to the airport, my wife pointed to the vehicle manual where it said “gas capacity… 14 gallons.”
Here’s my recommendation:
1. Pay in pesos; if no pesos, pay in dollars — but ask how much gas that will buy
2. Tell the attendant “200 pesos worth” or “17 gallons” (if that’s what your money will buy) or ask “How much will this buy?” while holding up the bill(s).
3. Hold onto the cash while the attendant pumps the fuel.
4. WATCH THE PUMP; ENSURE THAT IT HAS BEEN RESET TO ZERO before pumping begins.
5. WATCH THE PUMP
6. WATCH THE PUMP
7. Have a passenger in your car witness the handing of the bill(s) to the attendant for final payment. Count it out.
Not all Pemex jockeys are dishonest. Just pay attention. Tip them if they were honest.