Sgt. 1st Class James Oliver, HHC 175th Finance Company, pumps gas into his vehicle at the AAFES service station on Yongsan Garrison.

Sgt. 1st Class James Oliver, HHC 175th Finance Company, pumps gas into his vehicle at the AAFES service station on Yongsan Garrison. (Greg L. Davis / S&S)

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Officials are cracking down on people violating rules at AAFES gas stations by transferring fuel to people without ration privileges.

There have been several incidents over the last month, where people have violated the rules, including the 5-gallon limit on gas in portable containers, said Ricky Oxendine, law and order officer for Area II.

In the past, customers have come to the station and “basically they have their whole trunk full of 5-gallon gas cans,” Oxendine said.

As a result, new procedures are in place to ensure ration rules are followed. Previously, customers often just flashed identification and rations cards before fueling up.

Attendants are now taking the cards in hand to ensure names match and rations cards are still valid. The move isn’t a change in policy, said Air Force Master Sgt. Howard Smith, AAFES spokesman.

“They’ve always been required to check ID,” Smith said.

Some soldiers think the mere fact of being in uniform allows them to fuel up, Oxendine said. But ration rules must be followed, he said.

Also, people filling five-gallon gas containers must sign a form after paying. People are limited to filling one five-gallon container per day, Oxendine said.

The U.S. military in South Korea has a strict ration control program regulating access to the commissary, Post Exchange and shops. South Korea requires rationing as part of U.S. Forces’ privilege to import duty-free goods into the country.

To buy gas, most people must have a vehicle with status of forces agreement license plates and have an ID and ration card. If the car does not have a SOFA license plate, a person also must show his or her vehicle registration.

Violations are reported to the installation commander, Oxendine said. For a first offense, a person could lose ration privileges for one day up to six months.

Further violations could result in a suspension of ration privileges or even being barred from an installation, Oxendine said.

Filling multiple gas cans poses a hazard, as the cans aren’t grounded if they are inside a vehicle. Notes at the station remind people that static electricity could cause gas to ignite while still in the trunk.

Surveillance by military police has been stepped up at the station to ensure people comply with ration limits, Oxendine said. Army and Air Force Exchange employees also have been advised to turn away people who do not have valid identification, he said.

— Choe Song-won contributed to this report.

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