Gas coupon prices in Italy dropping for December

By SANDRA JONTZ | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 30, 2005

NAPLES, Italy — The price of gas coupons sold through the Navy Exchange in Italy is dropping about 8 cents a liter for December, U.S. Navy officials announced.

Beginning Thursday, the price for 100 liters of unleaded gas will be $70, down from $78, according to Bart Di Muccio, administrator of the tax-free gas coupon program for U.S. and NATO bases in Italy. The price for 100 liters of diesel fuel will be $78, down from $86 in November, he said. Coupons are sold in 100-liter and 200-liter booklets.

There are no fuel stations at any bases in Italy; motorists fill up by redeeming the coupons at stations on the economy. Two companies have the contract to redeem the coupons: Esso and Agip, Di Muccio said.

During December, servicemembers in Italy will pay more for fuel than some of their counterparts in other areas of Europe. Army and Air Force Exchange Service fuel prices for December in Germany, for example, will be $2.518 a gallon for regular gas and $2.852 a gallon for diesel. In Italy, gas will cost about $2.65 a gallon for unleaded fuel and $2.96 a gallon for diesel.

Usually, those in Italy pay less because the Navy sets its gas prices in Italy on a not-for-profit basis, while AAFES uses gas sales earnings in Germany, England and other countries to contribute to Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs and to offset losses elsewhere.

The cost for fuel in Italy also is higher than this week’s average U.S. retail gasoline price of $2.20, according to figures posted on the Energy Information Administration’s Web page. The average diesel price for the week in the United States was $2.48 per gallon.

The coupon program in Italy means U.S. and NATO servicemembers and civilians are exempt from paying Italy’s fuel taxes, a benefit that translates into paying about 40 percent of the price listed on the pumps.

And while Petty Officer 1st Class Damon Steele has seen fuel coupon prices “seesaw” during his three years stationed in Naples, he’s always been cognizant of the fact that prices are less than what locals pay.

“It’s better than having to pay the regular gas prices,” he said. “You can’t really complain about the coupon prices.”

Pump prices in Italy have been about 1.30 euros a liter, or nearly $5 a gallon.

In Italy, the tax-free office sets each month’s price of fuel coupons by calculating changes in the price of fuel, changes in the euro conversion rate to the dollar, and any profits or losses the Navy Exchange incurred the month before, Di Muccio said.

While the prices for the coupon booklets fluctuate each month, there is usually not very much of a cost difference from one month to the next because the office adjusts the prices monthly instead of annually, said Cmdr. David Sutton, tax-free gas coupon program officer.

Prices in the past

Following are the costs of fuel for 100-liter coupon booklets purchased through the Navy Exchange during the past six months. The first figure is for unleaded regular gas, the second for diesel:

  • July — $63; $72
  • August — $65; $74
  • September — $68; $76
  • October — $78; $86
  • November — $78; $86
  • December — $70; $78

Source: Tax-free gas coupon Program