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A sign at the Navy Exchange Hardy Barracks Mini-Mart in Tokyo announces that the Defense Energy Support Center has raised the wholesale cost NEX pays for gas by 41 cents. NEX gas stations in Japan and South Korea raised their retail prices at the beginning of the month to reflect the new cost.

A sign at the Navy Exchange Hardy Barracks Mini-Mart in Tokyo announces that the Defense Energy Support Center has raised the wholesale cost NEX pays for gas by 41 cents. NEX gas stations in Japan and South Korea raised their retail prices at the beginning of the month to reflect the new cost. (Thomas P. Skeen / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Navy Exchange retail gasoline outlets in Japan increased prices 35 cents per gallon Saturday, also hiking diesel fuel costs by 39 to 42 cents per gallon.

NEX spokeswoman Kristine Sturkie said the high pump prices officially went into effect on June 3, two days after Department of Defense officials announced their midyear adjustments for fuel prices. The department upped diesel prices by 40 cents per gallon, while gasoline prices jumped 41 cents a gallon.

Sturkie noted the 35-cent increase “is more in line with AAFES prices, but we did not pass the entire increase on to consumers.” The exchange does not anticipate any other dramatic price increases in the near future.

The NEX gasoline prices at Sasebo, Yokosuka Naval Base and Naval Air Facility Atsugi were $1.74 per gallon before the increase, store employees said Wednesday. The price now is $2.09 per gallon at each facility. At the Hardy Barracks NEX in Tokyo, unleaded jumped to $2.19 a gallon.

Diesel fuel prices varied slightly among the bases, NEX employees said: Sasebo raised diesel by 39 cents per gallon, increasing the price from $1.63 to $2.02; Yokosuka added 41 cents per gallon to reach $2.02 from $1.61; and Atsugi raised the price 42 cents per gallon, moving from $1.61 to $2.03 per gallon.

Chinhae Naval Base, South Korea, doesn’t have a Naval Exchange gas station, but people can buy gas for their privately owned vehicles through the base’s official gas pumps at Navy Exchange prices.

Gas station employee Kim Chung-soo was directed to raise prices at Chinhae on June 1, he said Wednesday.

He said prices went from $1.53 to $2.06 per gallon of unleaded; diesel prices jumped from $1.30 to $1.73.

NEX officials in Japan referred all questions to the Navy Exchange Service Command, or NEXCOM, headquarters.

NEX’s cost for fuel through the Defense Energy Support Center is “generally not reflective of U.S. cost prices, taxes considered,” stated Larry Boone, automotive program manager for NEXCOM, in an early February e-mail response to Stars and Stripes questions.

“NEX does change prices monthly at some overseas locations but that is because the (wholesale) price changes monthly,” he stated.

In February, NEX, like AAFES, was paying $1.38 a gallon for wholesale gas for fiscal 2005, according to information provided to Stars and Stripes.

A memorandum dated May 26 on the DESC Web site at www.desc.dla.mil notified government wholesale buyers that prices would increase June 1 for a variety of fuel types based on projections of continued high costs per barrel of crude oil.

The DESC now charges $1.79 per gallon of midgrade unleaded gasoline, the type sold by NEX. Generic diesel fuel now costs NEX $1.70 per gallon.

Reporter Leo Shane III contributed to this story.

Fuel outlook

The short-term outlook for fuel costs in the United States is as follows, according to the Department of Energy Web site, www.doe.gov:

Average retail gasoline prices dropped to $2.10 by May 30.On Monday, average retail prices were $2.12 per gallon.Prices at the pump for April through September should average $2.17 per gallon, about 26 cents per gallon more than one year ago.Monthly average gasoline prices should remain above $2 per gallon through 2006.Projected summer average for retail diesel is $2.22 per gallon, about 45 cents per gallon more than one year ago.Nationally, monthly average diesel prices should remain above regular gasoline prices through 2006.— Stars and Stripes


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