A year after $3-a-gallon gas, costs still soaring in Japan and Okinawa
Stars and Stripes May 17, 2008
A year ago this weekend, gasoline cruised to a new record of $3 a gallon for midgrade fuel at U.S. military bases in Japan and Okinawa.
At the time, some Americans living in those regions described pump prices as "crazy" and "outrageous."
Three bucks for a milk jug’s worth of gas is fast becoming a bargain as the $4 mark looms closer for the lowest octane available.
On Saturday, midgrade gas in Japan and Okinawa will climb another 10.5 cents to $3.635 a gallon, yet another record. Midgrade is the only grade of unleaded fuel sold at U.S. bases in Japan and Okinawa.
In South Korea and Guam, regular unleaded jumps about 11 cents, to $3.787 and $3.829, respectively.
For drivers of diesel-powered vehicles, the news is bleaker: In South Korea, diesel fuel will soar to $4.396 per gallon, up 18.2 cents. Diesel in Japan and Okinawa is up by the same amount, but will retail for less at $4.136 a gallon. A 25-cent-per-gallon Army and Air Force Exchange Service offset on all grades of fuel in Japan and Okinawa generally means pump prices are cheaper than in South Korea and Guam.
Premium unleaded will also hit the $4 mark in South Korea and Guam on Saturday — $4.009 and $4.049, respectively.
All price adjustments go into effect after midnight Friday at AAFES and Navy Exchange service stations in Japan, Okinawa, South Korea and Guam.
The prices are based on stateside market prices, being driven ever higher by record global oil prices. In the U.S., regular gasoline prices have risen seven consecutive weeks for a cumulative increase of 46.3 cents per gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Diesel this week hit a new record of $4.331 a gallon, registering the third-largest one-week increase — 18.2 cents a gallon, a whopping $1.558 higher than diesel prices a year ago, according to EIA.
While Americans are paying record prices for gas, they’re not paying as much as Japanese motorists on the local economy. On Monday, the average pump price of regular gasoline climbed to 160.1 yen per liter — or $5.83 a U.S. gallon, a record for Japan, according to Reuters.
Retail gas prices in Japan ballooned on May 1 when lawmakers reinstated a surcharge of 25.1 yen per liter — about 90 cents per gallon. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, a proponent of the gas tax, wants to use the proceeds for clean-energy initiatives instead of solely for road building.