I was all set to devote this morning's Window Seat real estate to
Mexico's ill-conceived decision to up the deposit required for
visitors who cross the border by car. Wouldn't you know that before
I got a chance to work up a good head of steam, the whole screwball
plan had been scrapped?
The plan, which would have required drivers to shell out up to
$800 before rolling onto Mexican soil, was put in place to stem the
illegal sale of U.S. registered vehicles in Mexico.
As such, it was a fairly logical response to a very real
economic problem. After all, none of the money was going to be
kept. The deposits were to be returned when the vehicles exited the
country, so there was no question of national greed. And people who
were planning on staying within 16 miles of the border were exempt
from the program, so those Tijuana day trips would remain
The real problem with the plan was one of perception: There was
no way U.S. travelers were going to go along with any scheme that
required a major cash outlay just for visiting Mexico. And never,
ever go after our cars. We are a nation with gasoline in our veins.
If you want to raise our national dander, tell us we can't drive
Anyway, before I could say anything, the whole gas tank-tempest
was over. You snooze, you lose.