Gas prices leap 12 cents in Pacific
Gasoline prices are climbing again at military pumps across the Pacific.
The cost for nearly all grades of fuel sold through the Army and Air Force Exchange Service and Navy Exchange was set to increase about 12 cents a gallon Saturday in Japan, Okinawa, South Korea and Guam.
The latest adjustment keeps prices in record territory for the fourth straight week.
On mainland Japan and Okinawa, most pump prices have soared more than 40 cents since the beginning of the year, while the spike is about 50 cents in South Korea.
AAFES announced the new prices Thursday. NEX says it has an agreement to keep its prices in line with AAFES.
The price of mid-grade unleaded in mainland Japan and Okinawa is shooting up to $3.426 a gallon. Regular unleaded is up to $3.573 a gallon at AAFES stations in South Korea, while premium jumps to $3.794 on the peninsula.
On Guam, AAFES announced a 12-cent hike for all grades, with regular unleaded moving to $3.609 and mid-grade gas sliding to $3.729. Premium, meanwhile, is now $3.829 per gallon.
Diesel is rising about 8 cents a gallon this week across the theater to $3.948 in Japan and Okinawa and $4.208 in South Korea.
AAFES sets its retail fuel prices weekly based on a Department of Energy average from the most recent reports. It also factors in incremental costs that can vary widely in each country.
In the Pacific, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni is the only base that doesn’t adjust fuel prices according to U.S. market trends. For the past several years, Marine Corps Community Services has maintained a minimum 35-cent-per-gallon profit on fuel sales.
On Thursday, mid-grade unleaded fuel was $3.47 a gallon, while diesel sat at $3.33, according to an Iwakuni spokesman.
Earlier this week, the stateside average price for regular unleaded surpassed $3.50 per gallon for the first time ever. It’s up from $3.26 a month ago and $2.856 at the same time last year, according to the Automobile Association of America and the Oil Price Information Service.
Some analysts predict gas prices will approach $4 a gallon this summer, when demand is at its peak, The Associated Press reported.
“Wow, that’s a lot,” said Paul Ergus, a retired sailor who works in computers for ONE-NET at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. “It makes a difference. I’m sure it’s going to put a burden on a lot of people.”
On Thursday afternoon, Ergus was headed home after filling up his vehicle at the AAFES main gas station on Yokota Air Base. He said news reports from the United States lessen pump pains overseas.
“They’re paying even more than us,” he added. “When you look at it that way, I guess we’re fortunate.”
Senior Airman James Luna-Hill of Yokota’s 374th Operations Support Squadron is transferring to Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, later this spring but said he’ll first return home to Hawaii for a three-week visit next month.
“I know gas will be way more there than it is here,” he said. “I’m used to these gas prices. ... It doesn’t really bother me all that much.”
Back home in Hawaii a year ago, Luna-Hill said he shelled out $3.89 a gallon for regular unleaded, with a lower octane than the mid-grade unleaded sold by AAFES.
“So this is a good price,” he added. “A lot of people forget the octane rating is a 93 here, higher than off base in the States.”