No mid-month price drops in store for AAFES gasoline
September 17, 2006
Don’t expect a drop in the price of gas purchased through AAFES before the next monthly price change.
Despite the growing gap between the Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s fuel prices in Europe and the U.S. national average, “… there are no approved plans to further adjust [overseas] pump prices mid-month,” Judd Anstey, an AAFES spokesman, told Stars and Stripes late Friday in an e-mail response to questions.
Motorists in the U.S. were paying 54 cents less than AAFES customers in Germany on Sept. 11, the last day the Department of Energy compiled its weekly stateside gasoline price average. That was the biggest price disparity in at least two years.
Rather than lower fuel prices now, AAFES is expected to account for the U.S. price drop when it resets its monthly gas price for October.
U.S. prices haven’t slid so low so quickly since they dropped almost 80 cents a gallon between last October and December after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. That slide resulted in a difference of 52 cents per gallon for AAFES customers over the U.S. average in November 2005.
In September 2005, AAFES’ price was 26.8 cents lower than the U.S. average for regular in Germany. This was the biggest gap in favor of drivers in Germany in at least two years.
AAFES also sells fuel in the U.K., the Netherlands, Turkey and the Azores. In Italy, fuel is purchased from certain Italian service stations through tax-free coupons issued by the Navy, which sets its own monthly rates.
While prices in the U.S. continue to fall, AAFES’ prices have not because the exchange service’s pricing formula doesn’t take trends in the States into account until the following month, AAFES officials have said previously.
That means there should be some relief in October, but it is not clear how much. AAFES calculates its price by averaging U.S. prices from the last week of one month and all but the last week of the next, then adds what it calls an “incremental dispensing cost.”
For instance, to get September’s price, AAFES averaged the price from the last week of July with the prices from the first three weeks of August and added more than 16 cents — its “incremental dispensing cost” — to every grade of fuel.
Because AAFES’ prices reflect past prices in the States, they can’t be directly compared to what motorists pay in the U.S. But it is not difficult to figure out the differences between the two.
Vinny Newsome, who works for Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation in Darmstadt, Germany, put 9.2 gallons of super-unleaded gas in his 1986 Toyota 4-Runner at the AAFES station in Darmstadt on Friday. He paid $30 for the fill-up.
In the States, the same tank of would cost him an average of $4.80 less.