I was assigned to North Carolina recently and finally understand that the Army and Air Force Exchange Service gasoline in Germany is overpriced. Can anyone explain why AAFES’ prices are about 50 cents a gallon higher than stateside prices (the national average) for the exact same fuel?

For example, in eastern North Carolina the gasoline price, regular unleaded, with state and federal tax, is $2.56 a gallon, whereas AAFES gasoline should be tax-exempt, then, when sold at that rate (which is with oil company profit) would cost (without the state and federal taxes of 48 cents per gallon) $2.08 a gallon, and not the nearly $3-a-gallon that AAFES is charging.

How and why is AAFES allowed to get away with this, and why is it commonly tolerated when, at locations such as Ansbach/Katterbach, Germany, AAFES runs a ridiculously substandard post exchange, terrible shoppette and completely inadequate gas station? [I am] not referring to the wonderfully tolerant and understanding employees whom AAFES is fortunate to have.

It is obvious AAFES does not necessarily return its huge profits back into the particular community where it gains them from, which is abundantly evident in Ansbach/Katterbach. The residents of the Ansbach/Katterbach military community are forced to either shop online, drive two hours to Grafenwöhr or drive three hours to Stuttgart to shop at a halfway-normal post exchange, and then overpay for gasoline at AAFES prices.

Can anyone explain why price gouging is tolerated? These situations — added to long deployments, inadequate facilities, ridiculously long lines and constant road construction delays and detours — all add to frustration and friction in the community. Misplaced frustration and aggression is then thrust upon the unfortunate front-line customer service employees who have direct contact with patrons.

I am truly thankful to have left the Ansbach/Katterbach military community.

Ken WeindlMarine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.

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