Gas costs rising in Germany, U.K.
November 16, 2007
Wallets everywhere beware: Prices for all grades of fuel sold through the Army and Air Force Exchange Service will jump an average of roughly 10 cents a gallon Saturday in Germany and the United Kingdom.
It’s the fourth straight week that U.S. fuel prices — on which AAFES prices in Germany and the U.K. are based — have gone up, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The price of all grades of fuel have increased an average of about 35 cents per gallon from a month ago.
The latest jump pushes regular gas, sold only in Germany, up 9.8 cents to $3.278 a gallon — almost 90 cents more than a year ago.
Midgrade gas is up 10.1 cents to $3.385 in Germany and $3.323 in the U.K. Premium, also up 10.1 cents, hits $3.492 in Germany and $3.43 in the U.K. Both grades are also about 90 cents per gallon more expensive than a year ago.
Diesel prices in both countries are up 12.2 cents a gallon to $3.592 in Germany and $3.53 in the U.K.
In the Netherlands, where AAFES fuel prices are based on the local cost of buying and distributing fuel, midgrade gas is up 4.8 cents per gallon to $3.803. Premium, up 5.2 cents, is now $4.093 per gallon. Diesel, which had lagged behind surging gas prices in the Netherlands, rises 26 cents a gallon to just over $4.10.
“It’s devastating,” David Kay, a student and military dependent living in Mannheim, Germany, said of the rising cost of gas. The prices have prompted him to start looking at hybrid cars to replace his fuel-sipping Honda Civic.
His reasoning isn’t all that altruistic. “The gas mileage is superior,” he said.
He’s made a conscious effort to squeeze all he can out of every drop of gas he puts into his Civic. Before heading out for class, he tries to think of other errands he has to run and tries to hit them on the way to or from school.
“I offer people rides if they drive also,” Kay said. “If we’re going to the same place, you know, might as well.”
One person who might want to catch a lift is Pfc. Robert Edwards, who was exasperated at the thought of another gas price increase.
“I ain’t driving no more,” said Edwards, a member of the 72nd Signal Battalion in Mannheim. “I’m going to walk to [physical training], and if I’m late, I’ll just blame it on the gas station.”
Gas saving tips
Drive less aggressively. Stomping on the gas and brakes like a race car driver can lower gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent around town, according to fueleconomy.gov.Slow down. With most vehicles, gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. As a rule of thumb, assume that each 5 mph over 60 is like paying an extra 20 cents per gallon, according to fueleconomy.gov.Don’t idle. It’s a myth that it takes more gas to start a car than to run it. Also, unless it’s below freezing, cars don’t need to be warmed up. Gentle driving is the best warm-up, according to the Car Talk guys.Shift up. Getting into the highest gear at the lowest possible speed saves gas. In a manual transmission car, shift sooner. As long as the car doesn’t buck, shudder or ping, all is well.Use the recommended gas. Engines designed to run on regular gas get no benefit from higher-test fuels, which cost more money.Drop the roof rack. Even empty, it lowers fuel efficiency by about 5 percent.Check tire pressure. When properly inflated, tires can improve fuel efficiency by 3.3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.Use the right oil. Thicker oil can reduce gas mileage because it takes more energy to push through it than through thinner oil. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended viscosity.Sources: Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Trade Commission, fueleconomy.gov and cartalk.com.