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Gas coupon prices for October in Italy will remain the same for the third straight month — in spite of the all-time-low value of the U.S. dollar against the euro, and an increase in the price for crude oil, a U.S. official said.

“We do everything in our power not to raise the prices for the coupons,” said Bart Di Muccio, manager of the Tax-Free Office, which administers the program in Italy. “If we have to raise the price, that is the very last resort.”

The price for a 100-liter booklet of unleaded gasoline coupons remains at $92, while a 100-liter booklet of diesel stays at $87. The booklet prices translate to $3.496 a gallon for unleaded and $3.306 a gallon for diesel.

Still, U.S. and NATO servicemembers serving in Italy have seen a steady increase in fuel prices as the year has passed, from January prices of $66 per 100-liter booklet for unleaded and $75 for diesel, to the present cost of $92 and $87, respectively.

The Tax-Free Office sets the monthly fuel coupon prices for all of Italy, with customers buying booklets from Navy Exchange or Army and Air Force Exchange Service outlets. The coupons are redeemable at any Agip or Esso gas station in Italy.

Each month, the Tax-Free Office sets prices for fuel coupons by calculating changes in the barrel price of fuel, fluctuations in the currency exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the euro, and any gains or losses the Navy Exchange and AAFES incurred in the previous month’s sales.

In May, the weak dollar-to-euro exchange rate was the reason cited behind the 23-cent-a-gallon boost in the cost of discounted gasoline.

“The dollar is very weak at the moment and gas prices have gone up ... all over Italy,” Di Muccio said at the time.

With many variables, it’s not possible for officials to predict what effect the current weak dollar rate might have on future fuel prices, he said.

And starting with the October sales, coupons for petroleum products will have a whole new look as officials work to improve accountability and safeguard against fraud, misuse and counterfeiting.

The coupons will be bigger and contain security features such as a new traceable numbering system, bar code and coloring that is copy-protected.

After Monday, the old coupons no longer will be accepted at service stations. Any leftovers can be redeemed for the purchase price at outlets where customers bought them, Di Muccio said.

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