Keeping Utila Going
The Island Gets by with a Couple Gasoline Stations and Individual Suppliers

January 11th, 2012
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A sign advertises the Utila petrol station

A sign advertises the Utila petrol station

In nearby Utila the fuel business is mostly boats and diesel. Given the few cars on the island and the big boat industry, the clients at Bush’s Gas Station are mainly dive shops and visiting sail boats.

Troy Bodden opened the first petrol station on Utila but was followed by Dannie Bush, who opened Bush’s Petrol in June 2010. “They do a really good job going to the boats and offering their services directly,” says Vern Fain, owner of a 41-foot catamaran that charters between Utila and Roatan and refuels on Utila.

Bush estimates that Utilans use around 3,000 gallons of fuel a month in their boats, scooters and cars. That is around a gallon per person. Another 40,000 gallons of diesel is used on the island by UPCO, the local power company whose prices have crept up to Lps. 8.5 per kilowatt-hour.

The petrol on Utila comes from La Ceiba petrol stations. “We are too small to buy directly from the suppliers,” says Bush. “Our diesel we sometimes buy from Roatan.” Bush’s prices typically stay even, and not more than Lps. 3-5 higher than Troy Bodden’s station. “There are a few other people that sell fuel: Archie Henderson, Austin Solomon and on the Utila Cays–Sydney Howell and Renaldo,” says Bush.

Utila’s petrol is transported in 1,500 Gallon holding boat tanks. The transport of fuel in 55 gallon drums from La Ceiba was outlawed after a fire on one of the fuel boats in La Ceiba harbor caused millions of dollars of damage in May 2011. [/private]

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