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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Faced with the likelihood of another monthly hike in on-base gas prices, Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials will delay making any announcement or changing prices until Tuesday, officials said this week.

Normally, the new prices go into effect at on-base service stations on the first day of each new month. But because of the extended July Fourth holiday weekend this year, AAFES officials decided to delay a price change until next week, said Sgt. 1st Class Amanda Glenn, a spokeswoman at the Pacific Region headquarters on Okinawa.

The move is intended to give people “a little break” from gas prices that — following U.S. trends — have shot to record highs in the past six months, Glenn said. On June 1, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in South Korea topped $2 for the first time in AAFES history, jumping 16 cents from the month before. Premium unleaded currently costs $2.18 per gallon.

Prices at on-base stations in South Korea and Guam are adjusted monthly; prices at AAFES stations in Japan are set annually in the fall.

In recent months, AAFES has faced criticism from on-base consumers about how the gas prices are set. Most consumer complaints voiced to Stars and Stripes center on sales tax questions and why gas purchased on the local overseas economy should be priced in line with U.S. stations.

In South Korea, for instance, gas is purchased from a local contractor, with prices changing each month.

AAFES officials say the rising costs of gasoline and crude oil worldwide are to blame for the high prices, saying they base their prices on U.S. Department of Energy averages from the previous four-week period.

That could be good news for on-base consumers in Guam and South Korea.

According to the weekly price survey the U.S. Energy Information Administration released Monday, U.S. gasoline prices declined slightly for the fifth week in a row, to a nationwide average of $1.92 a gallon for regular unleaded.

While Energy Information Administration analysts said they expected the downward trend to continue for the next few weeks, the report also noted the current average still was up 43 cents from prices a year ago.


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