Strong euro drives Italy gas prices higher
May 2, 2007
For the second straight month, the price of discounted gasoline available to servicemembers in Italy has gone up by 23 cents a gallon.
The cost of a 100-liter coupon book for unleaded gasoline rose Tuesday to $78 — or $2.96 per gallon. That follows an identical rise in April after four months of no change in price.
Bart Di Muccio, manager of the Tax-Free Office in Naples, said the reason for the increase is the strong euro rate.
“The dollar is very weak at the moment and gas prices have gone up ... all over Italy,” Di Muccio said.
The Navy runs the program in Italy, with customers purchasing coupons from the Navy Exchange or Army and Air Force Exchange Service.
Servicemembers and Department of Defense civilians in Italy still are paying less than their counterparts north of the Alps and less than half of what Italians pay at the pump.
AAFES, which runs the program in Germany, the United Kingdom and elsewhere, is charging $80.20 for a 100-liter booklet ($3.035 a gallon) in Germany, with prices expected to go up again Saturday. AAFES and the Navy purchase their gasoline from different sources and have different operating models. The Navy traditionally adjusts prices in Italy each month. AAFES has gone to a weekly pricing system.
The price of 100 liters of diesel in Italy rose by 3 cents for the second straight month, climbing to $81 — a slightly higher price than that of discounted diesel sold in Germany.
There was mixed reaction to the news of higher prices at Aviano and Naples.
“I’m glad they’re going up,” said Master Sgt. Jay Viskocil of the 31st Fighter Wing. “They should be going up. We need to use less gasoline. I think they say once it gets above $3, people start using other vehicles and exploring other options.”
There’s the proverbial silver lining for Petty Officer 2nd Class Glenn Robertson, who three weeks ago bought a car for excursions in and around Naples.
“I haven’t yet bought coupons. This is mainly due to the fact that I don’t drive as much, because I live on base,” Robertson said. “However, the increase in coupon book does seem a fair increase, given the gas prices as they stand back in the States. It could be worse ... we could be paying full price on the economy.”
Airman 1st Class Greg Cunningham from the 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron wasn’t thrilled.
“Pretty ridiculous,” he said. “I never thought it would get this high.”
It was higher at points last year in Italy, with a record high of 88 cents a liter ($3.34 a gallon) in September. But beginning in December, the price dropped to 66 cents a liter ($2.51 a gallon) and stayed there until April.
Cunningham drives a BMW 320I.
“It does all right. I’ve got a truck back in the States, and it just kills me,” he said.
The average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline sold in the States last week was $2.87 a gallon, according to the Department of Energy.
Senior Airman Kieyondra Price of the 31st Communications Squadron said she’ll be paying regardless of the price .
“It doesn’t matter,” she said. “I’ve got to get gasoline anyway.”
Stars and Stripes reporter Sandra Jontz contributed to this story.