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Fuel prices up across board

All petroleum products sold in American Samoa are faced with an increase in prices as political turmoil continues to plague the Middle East, one of the major oil producing regions, hiking the price of transportation — which is the price paid for transporting oil.


The price of crude oil has climbed over the past weeks as new protests erupted in Egypt, whose democratically elected president was ousted by the military, sending concerns around the world, especially for the oil industry.


As expected the price of crude oil has increased, resulting in local prices going up as well and this was effective July 16, according to data released yesterday by Sione Kava, the petroleum officer with the ASG Office of Petroleum Management (OPM).


The data shows that the new MAP for gasoline stands at $3.65 per gallon, an increase of five cents from the July 1st MAP.  Kava said OPM will be conducting soon a survey of local gas stations to get an average price for the territory under the new MAP.


For jet fuel, the new MAP is $3.52 per gallon, while kerosene is at $3.53 per gallon—an increase of five cents for each product, according to the data.


For diesel products — road diesel is $3.83 per gallon; boilers/generators (used by the Tafuna Power plant) at $3.51 per gallon; commercial fishing vessel diesel is at $3.36 per gallon and other marine diesel at $3.43 — an overall increase of 5 cents.


According to OPM there is also a hike of five cents 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.


As to the reason for the increase, Kava pointed out that crude oil remains high at $103 a barrel, an increase of $10 from last month and the hike in crude oil is due to a couple of reasons.


Firstly, the political turmoil in Egypt — the increasing transportation risk in the Suez Canal, which is a major route for crude oil in the region — as well as a build up in demand for refined petroleum products during the peak summer period.


Secondly, the price of Refined Products increased due to the increase in crude oil and the following:


•         Refinery margin is increasing:  scheduled and non-scheduled refinery shutdowns that put pressure on the ones in operation


•         Demand increases: fresh demand from Indonesia, Vietnam and the Middle East.


As for the future outlook, Kava said that in his “opinion, we will be seeing an increase in the MAP in the coming months.” He also pointed out that there have not been any ASG changes to the MAP elements, which include the fuel tax, for a very long time.