A dollar will carry servicemembers a little bit farther down the road next month as fuel prices fall at most U.S. military bases in Europe.
Starting Thursday, consumers will pay $1.80 a gallon (47.7 cents a liter) for normal unleaded gasoline at the pumps in Germany and the Netherlands. That represents a drop of 5.7 cents a gallon from April’s prices, according to Jeanne McDonald, spokeswoman for the Army Air Force Exchange Service.
“The fluctuation in prices follows the stateside trend,” McDonald said. “We might be a week or two behind, but the change will come.”
These trends are based on monthly stateside averages put out by the Department of Energy. Despite the falling prices, the average cost of gas in the States during April was still 17 cents a gallon higher than last year’s average, according to DOE statistics.
In Germany, where most U.S. troops are based, the price of a regular unleaded 100-liter gas coupon book will drop from $49.20 to $47.70. Midgrade will costs $50.40, while a 100-liter super-plus coupon book will cost $52.70.
AAFES stores sell fuel coupons in Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Turkey and the Azores. Prices are slightly lower in the United Kingdom. For example, a gallon of super-unleaded will cost $1.85, compared to $1.90 per gallon in Germany.
Drivers in Turkey and the Azores will not benefit from the drop in fuel costs, because prices are set in an annual contract between AAFES and the fuel supplier.
The upcoming drop is the first break after three straight price leaps. In February, prices jumped 7 cents a gallon, followed by a 14-cent hike in March and another 14-cent rise in April.
Earlier this year, Hazel Holcomb bought more than enough fuel coupons to cover her fuel costs through March and April.
“My husband called me and let me know that prices were going up,” she said.
Holcomb, who is a civilian family member in the Darmstadt area, said living on the economy has taught her to count her blessings.
“Americans like to complain about gas prices, but if they had to come to Germany and fill up it would be a big eye-opener,” she said.
Off-base prices are nearly $4 a gallon.
“I don’t know how Germans can afford to travel as much as they do,” she said.
Holcomb said she only uses coupons at gas stations on military installations.
McDonald said Americans living overseas can keep an eye on the fluctuating gasoline prices to prepare for upcoming monthly changes in the AAFES system.
Stateside gasoline and diesel fuel prices are listed on the Internet at tonto.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/gdu/gasdiesel.asp.