The law that Panama will shift to an all-metric system is slowly being implemented. Given that most products already have both metric and US Customary Units/Imperial measurements and most construction workers are bi-measural working in both inches and meters, the biggest impact will be that we will start buying gasoline, like most of the rest of the world, in liters.
As of Sunday, March 17, 2013, all fuels in Panama would be sold by the liter instead of the traditional U.S. gallon. Javier Arias, director of the National Methodology Center of Panama (Cenamet), said the change in the conversion of gallons to liters does not represent in any way, shape or form, a price increase, it’s only changes the way you order the product.
Arias explained that all they are doing is converting the price per gallon with international conversion factor (3.78541178) to convert gallons to liters.
The service stations will work from March 17 until April 30 when full adaptation of the new system should by ready across the country On May 1, 2013, all fuel sales should be made using the liter as the unit of measurement to comply with the regulations of the World Trade Organization—WTO (Sistema Internacional de Unidad de Medidas de Panamá).
This adoption of liters is based on Law 52 of December 11, 2007 which allowed Panama a period of up to five years to carry out the new system known as “Sistema Internacional de Unidad de Medidas de Panamá” (Panama International Measurements of Units). It will be mandatory for all service stations to post their prices in liters with three decimal points to insure accuracy in the conversion of gallons to liters.
On March 21, I went out to the city to find out if the service stations were indeed changing to liters. Not really, all the service stations visited were marketing their fuels in U.S. gallons as shown in the picture below.
On April 2, 2013, I finally found out that all Puma service stations in Panama City had switched to the new metric system. You could see their prices posted in liters with three decimal systems for the sake of accuracy. Take a look.
Ricardo Martinelli, the current president of Panama, promised changes in Panama during his political campaign. The guy has kept his word and is busy making all kinds of “cambios” in the country in a very short period of time. I haven’t seen so many changes in Panama in my lifetime. It’s absolutely mind-boggling. Good Day.