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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Gasoline prices for October at Japan and Okinawa base stations will fall in similar fashion to the rest of the Pacific, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service said Friday.

A gallon of mid-grade unleaded will cost $2.376, down almost 54 cents from September’s cost of $2.913 per gallon.

AAFES gas prices are dropping this month to reflect the market in the United States, which has seen a steady decline in fuel cost since mid-August.

The nationwide average for a gallon of gas was about $2.38 last week.

AAFES buys gasoline for mainland Japan and Okinawa from the Defense Energy Support Center at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo.

Each October, the beginning of the fiscal year, DESC establishes an annual fixed cost for the bulk purchase.

The price is good until at least April when, as has been the case for the past two years, a mid-year adjustment might be made.

AAFES then adjusts its monthly retail pump prices based on the average cost for a gallon nationwide in the States over the previous four to five Mondays.

This week DESC set the fiscal year 2007 bulk price for AAFES at $2.37 per gallon, according to AAFES spokesman Master Sgt. Donovan Potter.

That’s up 17 cents from the $2.20 per gallon price set in October 2005.

So for the coming month, at least in Japan and Okinawa, AAFES’ “profit margin is essentially zero,” Potter stated in an e-mail.

Off base, Japan’s gasoline prices surged to an average 144 yen a liter ($4.66 a gallon) in August from 137 yen in July, according to Bloomberg.com, citing Japan’s Oil Information Center.

That was the highest increase since the Gulf War in 1990.

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