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HEIDELBERG, Germany — Department of Defense ID card holders based in Germany have until the end of December to obtain a fuel ration card, according to AAFES and Army officials.

With less than four weeks left in the year, an estimated 90 percent of authorized motorists have ration cards, said Dave Mattingly, program coordinator for Installation Management Command-Europe. The cards are valid at Army and Air Force Exchange Service and Esso gas stations.

The 90 percent mark will increase because car owners in the Heidelberg and Kaiserslautern communities are coming on line this month. Mattingly said those two communities are the last on the conversion calendar.

The end of the year also means the end of the decadeslong fuel coupon program administered by AAFES. The deadline for using the coupons, which are no longer being printed, was extended from September to the end of the year. No second extension is planned.

So in January, individuals without a fuel ration card, even if they are authorized to have one, will have no place to go for gas other than on the economy.

In a related matter, Mattingly noted that the prepaid balances that appear at the bottom of a receipt are rounded up or down by no more than 50 cents. The monthly fuel ration, as it appears on the receipt, is also a rounded number.

However, the computer program tracking the two balances keeps an accurate count.

Customers who want to check their account can go to the Web site https://odin.aafes.com/esso, and use their Social Security number, without dashes, as the "ID option," and their license plate number as the password.

For the latest on the fuel card program, go to www.imcom-europe.army.mil/sites/news/fuelcard.asp.

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