Gas prices to spike another 20 cents on Okinawa bases
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Drivers on Okinawa can expect a 20-cent hike at the pumps Saturday, even as prices fall at other bases across the Pacific, according to the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which manages military gas stations.
This most recent price increase for bases on the island comes on the heels of a 25-cent spike on July 23. The new price of $3.98 per gallon is well above the $3.67-per-gallon U.S. average and gives Okinawa the distinction of the highest gas prices in the Pacific.
The latest hike is attributed to the strength of the yen against the dollar, AAFES officials said Thursday. Okinawa is on a yen per liter based pricing index, which is why prices rose, while mainland Japan is on a dollar per gallon based index and saw a decrease.
“The strength of the yen against the dollar drove prices higher and that’s it,” AAFES spokesman Sgt. 1st Class Jon Cupp said.
Meanwhile, the price of gas at bases on mainland Japan, South Korea and Guam will decrease by about 4 cents, which reflects a decrease in domestic fuel prices this week. AAFES will be selling mid-grade gas on mainland Japan for $3.60, according to the Department of Energy.
Officials said in July that prices were going up on Okinawa due to contractual changes with their Japanese supplier who is based on the island. 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.
Cupp would not say if this is the end of weekly bumps in price.
“I really don’t want to speculate on what it will do in the future because we just don’t know,” Cupp said.
Gas in South Korea will be slightly above the national average at $3.69 per gallon for regular when the new AAFES pricing begins this weekend.
Okinawa now has the most expensive gas in the Pacific, overtaking Guam at $3.79 per gallon of regular, according to AAFES.
Gas prices have been climbing steadily in the U.S. from a low of $1.90 per gallon in early 2009 following the global economic collapse, Department of Energy statistics reveal.