Dan Wyckoff, a Department of Defense civilian at Naples, Italy, buys gas coupons from Stefania D’Orso Monday at the Navy Exchange.

Dan Wyckoff, a Department of Defense civilian at Naples, Italy, buys gas coupons from Stefania D’Orso Monday at the Navy Exchange. (Kendra Helmer / S&S)

Gasoline and diesel prices for personnel in Italy will rise about 28 cents per gallon on June 1, a nearly 17 percent increase.

Skyrocketing crude oil prices and a fluctuating euro rate are the reasons, said Cmdr. Lee Ebert, supply officer for Naval Support Activity Naples.

“We don’t like to change the price of fuel frequently,” Ebert said. “Normally we go every six months. However, with the continuing rise in fuel worldwide, the euro ... in a very erratic mode up and down, I suspect that fuel prices will probably increase every three months.”

The Navy manages the gasoline program for all military services in Italy, under which U.S. and NATO personnel buy rationed coupon books for tax-free petroleum products.

The price of a 100-liter book of unleaded or diesel gas coupons will rise from $44.50 to $52, a 16.85 percent increase. That’s an increase of about 28 cents per gallon, from $1.69 to $1.97.

The last time prices were raised was Jan. 1, from $39 to $44.50.

The cost of coupons for oil did not change.

Coupon prices usually change in January and at the start of summer.

“The timing of the increase is typical,” Ebert said. “However, the increase is not typical.”

Based on the market price of fuel, the Defense-Energy Support Center in Virginia negotiates prices every 15 days with Agip and Esso oil companies in Italy.

Those price changes are not passed along to customers every 15 days, though. And with the rising price of crude oil, “we’re in a catch-up,” Ebert said.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which calculates the prices of gas for Americans stationed in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands on a monthly basis — and elsewhere in Europe on a less-frequent basis — has prepared its customers for another likely price increase next month.

In the past two weeks in the States, prices rose more than 14 cents to an average of $2.07 a gallon for self-service regular and show no signs of slowing their climb, according to The Associated Press. Drivers in the States are paying between $1.87 and $2.36 per gallon.

For three straight months, the average price of gasoline has broken all-time record highs. According to the AAA automobile club, the national average price for unleaded gasoline was $1.493 a year ago.

Ebert noted that personnel stationed in Italy are still getting a bargain: The price is lower than what stateside drivers pay and is much lower than what drivers would pay without coupons for taxed fuel on the economy. Italians pay an average 1.10 euros per liter (about $4.98 a gallon).

Several drivers in Naples said they weren’t surprised by the increase.

“Considering the gas prices back in the States and what they are here on the economy, I think it’s probably a good deal,” said Dan Wyckoff, a Department of Defense civilian.

Petty Officer 1st Class Sean Wilson said that though it’s a big hike, “I know why. I guess there’s not much we can do about it.”

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