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Italy to see increase in gas coupon prices

By SANDRA JONTZ | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 29, 2008

NAPLES, Italy — Gas coupons for U.S. motorists in Italy will increase by 7 percent — about 27 cents a gallon — in April because of a boost in crude oil prices and the devaluation of the U.S. dollar against the euro, a Navy official said Friday.

A 100-liter book of unleaded gas coupons will jump from $101 to $108 on Tuesday, which translates to $4.08 a gallon. The cost of a 100-liter book of diesel coupons will increase to $111 from $118, or $4.46 a gallon, said Bart Di Muccio, administrator of the Tax-Free Office in Naples.

Fuel coupon prices did not increase in March, despite soaring barrel prices and plummeting dollar value, Di Muccio said.

According to his calculations, the total increase of barrel prices since February was more than 10 percent, and the drop of the dollar-to-euro was more than 11 percent.

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 the Army and Air Force Exchange Service incurred in the previous month’s sales.

The Europe prices exceeded those in the United States. The average retail gas price for the week of March 24 was nearly $3.26 a gallon, according to the Department of Energy.

The price increase was inevitable, said Joshua Jones, a civilian engineer with Naval Facilities Engineering Command Europe and Southwest Asia.

When asked if he was surprised, he said, “Not in the least, not with the massive inflation in the U.S.”

Lisa Mansfield uttered a single word when told of the price hike, “Ouch.”

The extra money that the elementary school music teacher and her sailor husband, who plays in the Navy band, will have to spend on gas coupons won’t be for travel, a treat they likely will have to curtail, she said.

“Any time the price goes up, it makes things a little harder.”

There are no fuel stations to fill up private vehicles on bases in Italy, so customers buy coupon booklets from Navy Exchange or Army and Air Force Exchange Service outlets and redeem them at Agip or Esso gas stations in Italy.

The coupons, also available to NATO members, are intended for home-to-work travel only, officials said.


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