On-base gas prices in Japan and Okinawa are jumping 20 cents a gallon Sunday, just days after AAFES announced a freeze on any price hikes.

Gas jumps from $1.44 to $1.64 per gallon for midgrade and from $1.33 to $1.51 per gallon for diesel at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service gas stations, officials announced. In Japan, only midgrade fuel is available.

The prices are to remain fixed through Sept. 30, 2004.

Fuel prices at AAFES stations in South Korea and Guam originate from different sources and are adjusted monthly.

Prices in South Korea will go from $1.65 a gallon to $1.72 for midgrade, from $1.83 a gallon to $1.90 for premium, and diesel will drop from $1.53 a gallon to $1.51.

In Guam, the price will increase from $1.67 per gallon to $1.73 for unleaded and from $1.85 per gallon to $1.92 for premium unleaded.

Changes in gasoline prices are usually announced prior to the first of each month. But pricing policy discussions delayed the announcement.

AAFES says it has been looking for ways to reduce the impact of stateside rising prices, and this has delayed the implementation of the monthly price adjustment, which is based on the Department of Energy CONUS averages.

AAFES gas prices are set using a market-based pricing strategy. The current policy, established in 2001, sets the price based on the U.S. Department of Energy’s monthly average for each grade of gasoline in the continental United States, plus the costs AAFES incurs in each overseas market.

AAFES spokeswoman Lt. Col. Debra Pressley told Stars and Stripes that this month AAFES eliminated from the formula unusually high weekly prices that were the result of events such as the East Coast blackout or the pipeline break in Arizona.

“No one ever likes to see a price increase, so we looked for every way we could to hold it down within the approved pricing policy,” said Maj. Gen. Kathryn Frost, AAFES commander.

Navy Exchange officials at Yokosuka Navy Base, Japan, referred all queries on gas prices to their headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va.

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