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Gas prices will rise about 12 cents per gallon on Tuesday, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service has reported, as oil prices continue to spike across the globe and while war and worry engulf the Middle East.

The price increase affects most AAFES locations selling gas or gas coupons in Europe.

“We do want to alert our customers to either fill up or purchase gas coupons prior to the increase,” said Jeanne McDonald, an AAFES spokeswoman. “We want to give them the news as we know it.”

The AAFES stores sell fuel coupons in Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Turkey and the Azores. Only drivers in the latter two countries are spared the increase, as exchanges there purchase petroleum via annual contracts. In Germany, home to most U.S. troops in Europe, a gallon of the super plus grade will go for more than $2.

The upcoming coupon increase is the third hefty jump in as many months. In March, the cost of a gallon of gasoline went up 14 cents. In February, it rose 7 cents.

The phenomenon is not isolated to U.S. forces in Europe. The AAFES price is tethered to Department of Energy averages. Those averages bloated during March, though on Monday the department reported a slight drop in retail gas prices compared with recent weeks.

According to Reuters, oil prices rose 2 percent on Thursday alone, thanks to the war as well as tribal clashes affecting production in oil-rich Nigeria.

This combination of crude oil and conflict canceled itself out for one American soldier fueling up on post in Wiesbaden, Germany. Because of the increased tension over Iraq, Sgt. Maj. Michael Stewart said he doesn’t drive around so much.

“I just travel from work,” Stewart said. But even days prior to the April 1 increase, Stewart noticed it already cost more to quench his imposing Jeep. Thursday’s thirst took him for $35, rather than the $30 he expected.

“There is a crunch there,” Stewart said.

It could be worse. In California, home to gasoline’s highest rates in the States, a gallon of regular goes for $2.14, according to the Department of Energy. That’s 58 cents more than at the same time last year.

The ever-present noise of war weighed more on the mind of one woman in Wiesbaden than did the resulting price hike.

“What option do I have?” said Nadia Ponte, whose military husband is set to deploy to the Gulf. “I can’t use public transportation to get where I need to go. Do I have a voice? There’s really nothing I can do about it.”

Ponte said she’s dizzied by the varying and sometimes conflicting reports from news agencies based in the United States, Britain, Germany and the Middle East.

“I do understand the reason for [the increase] — the war,” Ponte said. “People are probably afraid.”

Paying at the pump around Europe

On Tuesday, AAFES fuel prices will increase by about 12 cents per gallon. New prices will be:

• Germany: $1.86 for unleaded, $1.96 for super, $2.04 for super plus and $1.90 for diesel.• Netherlands: $1.96 for super, $2.04 for super plus and $1.90 for diesel.• United Kingdom: $1.92 for unleaded, $2 for the higher grade and $1.85 for diesel.• Turkey and The Azores: Prices remained unchanged, as AAFES purchases fuel from suppliers through annual contracts. In Turkey, super plus is $1.56 when purchased from an on-post pump, and $1.97 when purchased on the economy with coupons; diesel likewise goes for $1.36 and $2. In the Azores, AAFES sells super unleaded exclusively at the pump for $1.56.• Spain and Italy: Prices vary periodically, though not monthly, under contracts managed by the U.S. Navy. In Rota, Spain, midgrade unleaded is currently sold on post for $1.60, and prices have been rising. In Naples, Italy, unleaded and diesel are sold by coupon for $38 per 100-liter book, redeemable for about 26 gallons. That’s about $1.46 per gallon. That book price is expected to increase by $7 on May 1, after which a gallon will cost $1.73.

— Stars and Stripes

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