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If you drive in Italy, your wallet may be breathing a sigh of relief.

Gas prices are going up next month, but less than 6 cents a gallon — from about $2.60 to $2.65 — for regular unleaded, said Bart Di Muccio, tax-free products administrator from Naples, Italy.

That’s much less than the average cost of gas in the States, which runs close to $3 per gallon.

“It’s a good deal for sailors,” Di Muccio said.

Not to mention soldiers and airmen in Vicenza and Aviano, because the Naples office sets prices for all U.S. military and NATO personnel in Italy.

Prices for diesel in Germany and gas in Great Britain are also set differently from those in Italy, Di Muccio said. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which runs the gas programs in those countries, adjusts pump prices based on the Department of Energy averages for stateside prices.

“We take three things into consideration,” Di Muccio said, “the euro-dollar conversion; the actual price from the oil companies; and we take into consideration any profit or loss from the previous month.”

Since his office is technically nonprofit, any “extra” that’s made off gas or oil coupon sales is turned back to the consumer.

So, while AAFES in Germany is raising prices by 10 percent for regular unleaded, those stationed in Italy will see an increase of only about 3 percent. A book of coupons for 100 liters of unleaded gas will rise $2 to $70 in May. Diesel prices will be $78 for 100 liters, or $2.95 per gallon.

While gas prices are nearing record highs in the U.S., gas coupons in Italy are still a bargain compared to last October and November, when a 100-liter book of unleaded gas coupons ran $78.

There are no fuel stations at Italy bases; motorists fill up by redeeming coupons at stations on the economy. Two companies have the contract to redeem the coupons: Esso and Agip, Di Muccio said.

Additionally, other local gas stations may be authorized to accept coupons, such as a Total Fina station between the two Naples bases in Gricignano and Capodichino.

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