In S. Korea, price changes at the pump a monthly routine
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — U.S. base residents in South Korea say they believe gas prices are too high but feel fortunate to have a system allowing for monthly adjustments.
Unlike in Japan and Okinawa, Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials examine gas prices in South Korea each month, shifting them as the stateside market varies. Gas prices are also adjusted monthly at AAFES stations on Guam.
In South Korea this month, after originally announcing a 10 cent-per-gallon hike for unleaded fuel, AAFES backed off by 3 cents.
Beginning Sunday, unleaded will cost $1.72 per gallon and premium will cost $1.90. Diesel fuel will decrease from $1.53 per gallon to $1.51 per gallon.
“The way I see it, it’s only a temporary increase, and it’ll go back down once fall starts. That’s the beauty of being here, is that it changes every month,” said Sgt. Karl Seibert, who formerly was stationed at Camp Zama, Japan.
When he was at Zama, he said, “I’d have to deal with that one price for the whole year. I still think the price is too high, but at least it won’t stay this way for 12 months.”
According to AAFES, the service pegs its fuel prices to monthly gas price averages put out by the Department of Energy. AAFES adds dispensing costs before arriving at its final selling price.
AAFES lowered prices in May, June and July after a 12-cent hike in April. In August, regular and unleaded rose 1 cent per gallon.
Some at the pumps on Yongsan Garrison on Wednesday said the monthly increases were starting to add up.
“With how much they raised it in September, and with this, it’s almost 20 cents higher in a month,” said Charlene Vargas, an Army spouse filling up her compact car’s tank.
“I guess it’s better than being stuck with one price for the whole year, but I still don’t know really how they decide what to do with the prices.”