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Staff Sgt. Allan David will spend a little less next month to gas up his SUV at Leighton Barracks. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service announced Wednesday that prices will fall between 16 and 22 cents in January.
Staff Sgt. Allan David will spend a little less next month to gas up his SUV at Leighton Barracks. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service announced Wednesday that prices will fall between 16 and 22 cents in January. (Geoff Ziezulewicz / S&S)

Americans purchasing gasoline and diesel fuel through the Army and Air Force Exchange Service in Europe will start the new year with lower prices.

Despite rising prices in the States during the last month of 2005, the price of fuel bought at AAFES stations or with AAFES coupons will drop between 16 and 22 cents a gallon beginning Jan. 1, according to an AAFES news release sent this week.

AAFES overseas fuel prices for January are based on the Department of Energy’s four-week stateside average ending Dec. 19. Fuel dispensing costs and other expenses, such as administering the gas coupon program, are then tacked on to the per-gallon price, adding an average 16 cents to the gallon, AAFES spokeswoman Debbie Byerly said earlier this year.

According to the AAFES release, January prices in Germany will range from $2.35 for a gallon of regular to $2.63 for a gallon of diesel. Prices in the United Kingdom will be between $2.39 for unleaded and $2.57 for diesel.

In Italy, where fuel for Americans is not provided through AAFES, prices will remain the same, said Bartolomeo Di Muccio, an administrator for naval bases in Italy. That price is $70 for 100 liters of unleaded gas and $78 for 100 liters of diesel. Coupons that can be exchanged for gas at Italian stations are sold in 100- and 200-liter booklets.

Despite the January dips, prices still will be higher than a year ago. Citing the Energy Department’s survey of service stations, MSNBC reported Monday that the national price for a gallon of regular unleaded is up 40 cents from the same time last year.

The rise and fall of gas prices in the States will affect AAFES gas prices in the coming months as well, Byerly said. AAFES customers just experience the price fluctuation a bit later than Americans at home.

“It all depends on what happens in the States,” she said. “It’s market-based.”

According to the AAFES release, the average cost of a gallon of fuel rose during the last two weeks of the four-week period that ended Dec. 19.

For those customers looking to purchase gas coupons, Byerly recommended holding out for the lower rates in January.

“If you go buy your coupons now, those are going to be based on those December prices,” she said. “That’s the beauty of the coupon booklet. When prices are low, you can buy your maximum.”

Gassing up Thursday at the Leighton Barracks Shoppette in Würzburg, Germany, Spc. James Bowser said he spends $80 a week on gas.

“[Gas prices] ain’t going down far enough,” said Bowser, a member of the Schweinfurt-based 121st Signal Battalion.

Filling up next to him, Sgt. Pat Booker, with the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Military Police Company, said gas prices sometimes affect holiday spending and spending in general. He welcomed the price drop for the new year.

“It does put a dent in spending,” Booker said. “But, like everything else, you adjust to it and drive on.”

Gas prices

The cost of a gallon of fuel purchased at Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities or with AAFES coupons beginning Jan. 1.

Germany

Unleaded: $2.354Super unleaded: $2.453Super Plus unleaded: $2.553Diesel: $2.630Netherlands

Super unleaded: $2.512Super Plus unleaded: $2.749Diesel: $2.630United Kingdom

Super unleaded: $2.399Diesel: $2.577Azores

Super unleaded: $2.652Turkey

Super unleaded: $2.673Diesel: $3.020Source: AAFES news release

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