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Gas prices at U.S. bases in South Korea dropped about eight cents a gallon Thursday after climbing steadily since February.

Effective Thursday, motorists at AAFES pumps were to pay $1.67 for a gallon of unleaded. That’s down nine cents, or 5 percent, from April’s $1.76 price. Premium unleaded is $1.86 for May, down eight cents, or 4 percent, from the $1.94 of April. And diesel is $1.61 a gallon, down 18 cents, or 10 percent, from $1.79.

Drivers at the pumps on Wednesday, the day before the price change, welcomed the news.

“Really, it’s dropping?” Sgt. Carlos Mercado asked. “It’s about time.”

But he said it could have happened sooner: “They needed to drop the prices, and they need to drop them more.”

Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Edwards certainly approved.

“Oh man, I’m one day early,” he said. “But I’m happy, more than happy. Dropping prices is a good thing.”

AAFES based its May fuel prices on the Department of Energy’s average price of gasoline in the continental United States for April, an AAFES Pacific Region spokesman said.

“Then we added any dispensing costs to come up with the final sell price,” said the spokesman, Air Force Master Sgt. Howard Smith. “When the DOE average goes down, then our price should mirror that.”

DOE averages in April were $1.61 for unleaded, $1.80 for premium and $1.55 for diesel.

The previous price dip for South Korea came in January, when motorists paid about 3 percent less than in December. In January, unleaded went from December’s $1.48 to $1.42, down six cents; premium, from December’s $1.66 to $1.62, down four cents; diesel went from $1.48 to $1.47, down a penny.

On Wednesday, prices for gas off base in Seoul were $4.13 a gallon for unleaded and $2.48 a gallon for diesel.

— T.D. Flack and Choe Song-won contributed to this report.

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