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Gas prices on bases in Germany and England will jump nearly 20 cents a gallon to record highs starting in September, following record gas prices in the United States, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service announced Friday.

Military members will pay $2.64 a gallon for regular unleaded gas in Germany, a 19-cent increase over August. Prices for super unleaded and super plus unleaded will go up 18 cents a gallon. Drivers in England will pay $2.68 for super unleaded gas, an 18-cent increase. Regular unleaded is not available on base in England.

Prices in both countries have jumped more than 30 cents a gallon in the past two months and stand 60 cents higher than this time last year, according to AAFES.

Drivers in the States are paying an average of $2.61 a gallon, an increase of 32 cents from a month ago and 70 cents from a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, which tracks gas prices throughout the country.

Those are the highest gas prices Americans have ever seen, according to the Lundberg Survey, which surveys gas stations across the country. When adjusted for inflation, Americans paid more for gas only during the Iran-Iraq war in the early 1980s, when prices shot up to the equivalent of $3 a gallon, according to Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the Lundberg Survey.

“I was disgusted,” said Spc. Richard Fry about paying $2.75 per gallon for regular unleaded gas while on leave in Raleigh, N.C., earlier this month.

Fry, a member of the 440th Signal Battalion in Darmstadt, Germany, will see higher prices in Germany starting Thursday because AAFES uses averages of the previous month’s gas prices in the U.S. to determine its overseas prices each month. AAFES takes the average price and adds a fee, from 13 to 18 cents a gallon depending on the region, to cover operational costs, said Debbie Byerly, an AAFES spokeswoman.

Servicemembers in the Netherlands next month will see an increase of 16 cents a gallon for super unleaded gas to $2.73 cents a gallon. Diesel fuel in Germany and England will increase 11 cents a gallon and 4 cents a gallon in the Netherlands.

Military members in Italy can buy only coupon books and currently pay about $2.46 a gallon for regular unleaded gas. The Navy sets those prices and adjusts them monthly. Bart DiMuccio, who runs the gas-coupon program in Naples, said he expected only a slight increase in September.

Despite the big price tag, some soldiers said they planned to hit the road for Labor Day travel next week, one of the heaviest travel weekends for Americans.

“I don’t really think about it,” said Sgt. Vance Conyers, of the 32nd Signal Battalion in Darmstadt. “I’m just trying to have a good time the last part of the year.”

Conyers planned to drive 65 miles to Karlsruhe to visit friends next week.

Sgt. Luke Fountaine, of the 440th Signal Battalion, said he still planned to drive the 350 miles to Berlin with friends over Labor Day weekend.

“You’re kind of stuck paying more,” Fountaine said.

Travelers in the States are also expected to hit the roads despite the record prices. AAA predicted that 34.5 million Americans would travel 50 miles or more from home over Labor Day weekend, a 0.9 percent increase from last year, according to a AAA press release.

But not all drivers are willing to pay extra for fun.

Cpl. James Ridings, of the 440th Signal Battalion, said he decided to stay home with his wife and two children this Labor Day weekend.

“I thought about going somewhere,” Ridings said. “But the prices are telling me I don’t want to travel too much.”


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