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The price of gas coupons in Italy will increase 11 cents to $2.57 a gallon Thursday, following record high gas prices in the States that have driven up prices at bases across Europe, the Navy announced Tuesday.

Servicemembers will buy 100 liters of regular unleaded gas for $68, a $3 increase from last month, said Bart DiMuccio, administrator of the tax-free gas coupon program for all bases in Italy. The price of diesel will increase 8 cents a gallon to $2.88, or $76 for 100 liters.

Senior Airman John Begg, a member of the 31st Logistics Readiness Squadron at Aviano Air Base, wasn’t happy to hear the news.

“That’s definitely bad,” Begg said. “We already pay a lot. We take a lot of road trips, and we use a lot of gas coupons.”

Servicemembers in Italy will continue to pay less for gas than their counterparts in other areas of Europe. That’s because the Navy sets gas prices in Italy on a not-for-profit basis while the Army and Air Force Exchange Service uses gas sales earnings in Germany, England and other countries to contribute to military Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs.

Each month, DiMuccio calculates changes in the price of oil, changes in the euro conversion rate to the dollar and any profits or losses incurred the month before to determine the next month’s price, he said.

In other European countries, AAFES determines gas prices at on-base stations and for gas coupons by adding a fee — ranging from 13 to 18 cents depending on the region — to the previous month’s U.S. average gas prices.

Gas prices on Thursday will surge nearly 20 cents a gallon to a record $2.64 a gallon for regular unleaded in Germany and $2.68 for super unleaded in England.

Gas prices in the U.S. hit record highs last week, and drivers continue to pay an average of $2.61 a gallon for regular unleaded gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said in a statement Monday that fuel capacities were expected to suffer because of damage from Hurricane Katrina, which on Monday slammed into the vital oil region of the Gulf Coast. That is expected to drive up prices at the pump.

Bodman said U.S. officials were considering tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve holds up to 727 million barrels of crude oil that can be used during emergencies. It has been tapped only once for emergency purposes, during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Stars and Stripes reporter Kent Harris contributed to this report.


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