New gas coupons for Italy

By LISA M. NOVAK | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 30, 2009

NAPLES — Starting on Thursday, Agip and Esso gas stations in Italy will accept only the new version of NATO’s discount fuel coupons, which are available at military exchanges. The new blue-and-tan coupons were to go on sale Monday.

"At the beginning of each fiscal year we change the features on gas coupons to safeguard against fraud and counterfeiting," said Bart Di Muccio, administrator of the Tax-Free Office at Naval Support Activity Naples, which runs the gas-coupon program.

"We have a system in place that allows us to track each individual coupon, which also helps us to ensure customers are filling out coupons correctly," Di Muccio said. "It is extremely important that the date written on the coupon is the date the coupon is actually used to buy gas. That date is the date we use to pay the oil companies."

Even though September and October prices for gas and home heating fuel are unchanged, the older coupons can’t be exchanged for new coupons. Unleaded gas is $86 for a 100-liter coupon book. A 100-liter book for diesel is $85.

Customers have 90 days from Thursday to return the old coupons to the military exchange where they were purchased. They will get a refund equal to the amount paid when the coupons were bought.

With no military gas stations on bases in Italy, U.S. and NATO military members and civilians have to purchase fuel on the economy. The fuel coupons, by long-standing agreement with the Italian government, enable members to buy gas tax-free. This can mean a discount of up to 40 percent off the price at the pump.