Although gas prices have been fluctuating widely in the States in the past few months, servicemembers stationed in Italy probably haven’t noticed.

For the third straight month, discounted gasoline prices for U.S. troops in Italy will stay the same, about $2.51 a gallon.

Bart DiMuccio, administrator for the program run by the tax-free office in Naples, said Wednesday that the price of coupons won’t change in March.

That means a coupon book for 100 liters of unleaded gasoline will still cost $66.

The per-gallon price in Italy is about 5 cents more than the Army and Air Force Exchange Service currently charges in countries including Germany and the United Kingdom.

But AAFES has instituted a new weekly pricing system, and the cost of gasoline is expected to increase again starting Saturday.

That’s because AAFES uses the average fuel costs in the States to calculate its prices.

Since Jan. 22, prices in the States have climbed nearly 23 cents a gallon. In Italy, however, the Naples office of tax-free products sets prices for fuel coupons by calculating changes in the barrel price of fuel, fluctuations in the currency exchange rate and gains or losses the Navy Exchange incurs the month before.

If AAFES prices rise as expected, drivers north of the Alps could be paying more for gas than motorists in Italy for the first time in several months.

Prices dropped by 10 cents a liter in Italy at the end of November, the last time there was a change.

Fuel coupon books are sold by the Navy Exchange and AAFES in Italy and can be used at Agip and Esso stations off base.

There are no on-base stations in Italy for non-governmental vehicles.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for 40 years.

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