CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Drivers on Okinawa bases should brace for a 25-cent hike in the price of gasoline beginning Saturday, according to the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which manages military gas stations.

The new $3.78-per-gallon price at the pump will be higher than even the average price for regular grade gas in the United States and is due to an increase in the cost of buying and transporting gas to the island, AAFES said Friday.

Meanwhile, the price of gas at bases on mainland Japan, South Korea and Guam will rise by about 4 cents, which is in step with rises in domestic fuel prices this week.

“The price increase in Okinawa is due to contractual changes with our supplier which have resulted in the cost of gasoline delivered to exchange facilities in Okinawa to be different than the cost of gas delivered to our locations in mainland Japan,” Sgt. 1st Class Jon Cupp, an AAFES spokesman, said in an email to Stars and Stripes.

The exchange gas stations had paid the same price for deliveries of gas to the mainland and Okinawa but less competition among suppliers and changing market conditions have meant an increase in the cost for the island, Cupp said.

“The resulting change in the contract for gas on Okinawa will now be reflected at the pump,” he said.

For now, it is unclear how long the higher prices will remain, Cupp said.

This week, the U.S. national average was $3.68 for regular grade, $3.80 for mid-grade and $3.93 for premium, according to the Department of Energy.

AAFES will be selling regular gas on mainland Japan for $3.60. Both the mainland and Okinawa have seen reduced prices due to a 25-cent-per-gallon subsidy given by the government of Japan.

Gas in South Korea will be slightly above the national average at $3.70 when the new AAFES pricing begins this weekend.

Still, Okinawa will not have the most expensive gas – that distinction goes to Guam, where exchange pumps will be selling regular for $3.80, according to AAFES.

Overall, gas prices have been steadily climbing in the U.S. from a low of $1.90 per gallon in early 2009 following the global economic collapse, Department of Energy statistics show.

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