Korea gas hikes: Some steam, others shrug
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — The prices, heat and, in some cases, tempers were up Thursday as patrons filled their tanks at AAFES’ gas station on Yongsan Garrison.
Gas prices increased Thursday from $2.324 to $2.517 per gallon of unleaded. Premium jumped from $2.528 to $2.710 a gallon and diesel from $2.427 to $2.539.
The increases had some patrons steamed, while others shrugged it off.
“It’s ridiculous,” said 2nd Lt. Camisha Boatwright while filling her tank. “I’m extremely ‘not happy,’” she said, pointing to $26.65 total on the pump.
Retiree Robert Key was quick to describe how he felt about paying more at the pumps.
“It sucks,” he said, stressing that the new prices are “entirely too much.”
Tech. Sgt. Lawrence Campbell said the increase doesn’t bother him.
“It’s still cheaper than buying gas off base,” he said. And if you don’t like the prices on base, he added, “go to California and buy your gas.”
Some wanted to know why AAFES raised the prices in South Korea but not in Japan and Okinawa at the same time. A gallon of midgrade gasoline in Japan and Okinawa currently costs $2.03.
AAFES has said it contracts for gasoline in Japan and Okinawa with a Japanese supplier and has a separate contract with a local company in Korea, whose prices fluctuate monthly. Also factored in are what a stateside AAFES spokesman earlier this week called “incremental costs unique to each country,” such as the price of shipping the fuel to the pumps.
AAFES officials, queried Wednesday from Washington, were unable to say how much they were paying per gallon to its Korean supplier in September.
Also factored into AAFES’ overseas fuel pricing formula is what gasoline costs on a four-week average of prices across the United States, as tallied by the Department of Energy.
At Yongsan, Rita Mills, driving a sport utility vehicle, said she was glad the price hike wasn’t higher. “This is nothing” compared to what people are paying in the States, she added.
First Lt. Bradley Denisar said he wonders when the prices will stop going up.
“Before too long, it’ll take $30 to fill this up,” he said of his car. “Me, personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it at $3 a gallon.”
But Denisar said he’s not concerned about how much AAFES pays suppliers per gallon compared to how much it’s charging. He said he thinks it’s fair he pays the same as his countrymen in America.
And AAFES “is probably using that money for some good somehow … giving it back to the community,” he said.