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Expect jump in petroleum prices — starting tomorrow

fili@samoanews.com

Be prepared to pay a jump in gasoline prices as well as for all petroleum products sold in American Samoa tomorrow, August 16th — as the new maximum allowable price (MAP), or wholesale price goes into effect.

Gasoline will see a big spike in the MAP and this is expected to send retail prices to just over $4 per gallon The current average price is around $3.88 per gallon.

Data released Monday by Petroleum Officer, Sione Kava, with the Office of Petroleum Management states the new MAP for gasoline will go up 21 cents per gallon, while there will be a 13 cents per gallon hike in jet fuel and kerosene.

Whether local gas stations will immediately hike prices, or wait until their current (cheaper) supply is used up, is something that motorists will have to wait and see.

Consumers have complained that when the MAP drops, some gas stations make the excuse that their prices can’t change until their old supply is used up, but they are quick to change the price when the MAP goes up.

Since May 1, gasoline began to drop in price, 2 cents per gallon — at the time retail price at the pump averaged between $4.61 and $4.63 per gallon. Then the MAP saw a major drop of 16 cents effective June 16 and a steep decrease of 24 cents in the July 1 MAP.  The last decrease in the MAP for gasoline and other petroleum products went into effect on Aug.1.

Besides the hike in the MAP for gasoline, jet fuel and kerosene, the new MAP for diesel products will also increase effective Aug. 16, said Kava.

The new MAP has road diesel at $3.86 per gallon; boilers/generators (used by the Tafuna Power plant) at $3.55 per gallon; commercial fishing vessel diesel at $3.42 per gallon and other marine diesel at $3.47 — an overall increase of 12 cents per gallon, said Kava.

According to OPM there will also be a 12 cent increase per gallon for the Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD), which is used for the eleven generators at the American Samoa Power Authority’s temporary power generation system (TPGS) in Satala, and the ULSD road diesel used by Education Department school buses.

“There is a significant drop in consumption however, we do not see a corresponding drop in prices,” Kava explained. “This is due to many factors but the one that can easily be proven is that OPEC ( Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) has a master economic plan to keep the crude oil price at above $80 a barrel.”

Kava said Monday that the recent drop in MAP prices reflected a drop in crude oil cost, but crude oil is “creeping up” and is now above $90 a barrel.

BACKGROUND

Samoa News has looked at its own electrical bills, and sees the ASPA kilowatt charge difference between May and June charges, reflected in June and July bills as only a 1¢ difference, i.e. drop — despite the major drop of 16¢ on June 16th. The July 1st MAP decease of 24¢ should show up in September’s electrical bill.

We note that ASPA has said it averages out the cost of the more expensive ULSD fuel with the boilers/ generator fuel it uses at its Tafuna Power Plant.



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