Weights and measures and loss of hectares of native vegetation

Panama is a small country and changes can be made rather quickly, when desired. It usually it takes forever to change things because the average Panamanian like all people everyplace resists transitions unless there is a force pushing hard. The change to the metric system has been fast because the government has leverage with businesses and the people need to adjust. First it was weights, no more pounds, now grams and kilograms. Romero, in an effort to dull the effect shifted their signs from pounds to 454 grams, leaving prices the same. In time they will follow other businesses and move to grams and kilograms, it takes time for the public to understand change.

Between now and some time in April the gallon will go extinct in Panama. Some gas stations are already making the change.

Prices in Liters

Prices in Liters

This Delta station is not selling discounted combustibles, they have switched to liters, there are about 3.7 liters in a US gallon. The gallon, the mile, the yard, the foot, and the acre are going extinct in Panama. Panama is joining most of the rest of the world in abandoning the imperial system of measurement for the much more logical metric system. Will the United States realize it needs to make the change too, or will people refuse the change saying it is being dictated by the outsiders, a plot to internationalize?

Speaking of acres or really hectares, I took this photo of Volcan Baru this morning in a clear moment. You can see some of the areas of deforestation on the slope facing Jaramillo. We need to stop the destruction or whether it is measured in gallons or liters we will not have sufficent potable water for much of anything.

Volcan Baru

Volcan Baru deforestation


  1. Bjorn Sefeldt says:

    People will get used to it quickly…after all its easier to go TO metric than the other way around…I managed to go to imperial measurements when arriving from Europe, if I can do it , anyone can….and even in US it should be easy as everybody already understands the system , afterall, its used in the monetary system…10 cents to a dime ,ten dimes to a dollar…etc…..progress ,but in either case makes no difference its just one way to measure,..as long as you understand how much it is , no problem….3.8 L to a gallon (unless Imperial gallon = 4.5) ,means every liter is just about 1 qt.

  2. One of the reasons Panama was so appealing to retiring Gringos was the measurement system was the same as in the US…. I suppose the younger Panamanian generation will appreciate it…but habits are hard to change when one is older…. I notice the Brits continue to drive on the wrong side of the road…sometimes it’s just a cultural statement and damn the rest of the world attitude.

    I don’t see the advantage to Panama since they trade mostly with the US. It does give an opportunity to merchants to charge more since many buyers won’t be able to do the conversions in their heads when purchasing. The Euro was a big boon to merchants in Europe when they switched from lire, francs, drachmas, etc. They always rounded up in price. I assume the same will happen here…. watch the inflation go up on your regular products…. It’s a perfect time to raise prices for merchants when there are measurement changes.

  3. Guy, your response is typical of someone with a US centric view of the world. The US is Panama’s largest trading partner, you are correct, the percentage is 25%. That means 75% of the trade internationally form Panama is with countries in the Metric world. US industry has to function in both world for exports and imports, so did Panama. Why not just simplify life and join the rest of the world.

    If you want to see Panama’s world trade download this PDF

    As to price increases, other than fuel which is government regulated you might be correct but they are going up regardless due to other inflationary pressures.

    The US is now the only significant holdout in a worldwide move to a much more logical system. I learned both systems in school, it does not seem too very difficult and once the transition is complete you can forget the imperial system.

  4. Bjorn Sefeldt says:

    NASA works in the metric system as its easier….then ‘translates’ it to regular Anericans…I had a ghard time as an Archiotect coming to US from Europe , finding out that when you figure out stairs ,you cannot just take the floor to floor ht and divide it…nope , first you must change feet and inches to inches then you can divide…..all Architectural drawings (other drawings too) are much easire in just numbers with decimals than feet and inches….just as most Americans have difficulities figuring out the old English monetary system….when they are use to ‘metric’ in dollars.

  5. Bjorn Sefeldt says:

    Americans HAD problems with old British system ,even the Brits wised up in 1971 and changed to decimal system in money…
    Since 1971, the monetary system of Great Britain is based on the decimal system. The basic unit of British currency (currency of the United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies) is the pound, which is divided into one hundred pence. (abbreviated as p).

    Prior to decimalization in 1971 Britain used a system of pounds, shillings and pence. (‘£sd’ or ‘LSD’). The smallest unit of currency was a penny, the plural of which was pence (or pennies). There were 12 pence in a shilling and 20 shillings in a pound. The pound came in the form of a paper bill, called a note, or a gold coin, called a sovereign.

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