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Welcome to world-wide reality: gas price up 12¢

Drastic hikes in gas prices in the U.S. have been on the front pages of national news in recent weeks, with focus on the rapid rises, one after another — welcome American Samoa to the world-wide reality.

Another across-the-board hike in petroleum products sold in American Samoa goes into effect tomorrow sending retail gasoline prices over the $4.50 per gallon mark. This will be the second drastic hike in two weeks.

The new maximum allowable price (MAP) effective tomorrow for gasoline will be $4.12 per gallon, an increase of 12 cents, said petroleum officer Sione Kava, with the ASG Office of Petroleum Management (OPM).

As of Monday this week the average retail price was around $4.40 per gallon and the new MAP is expected to put the new average retail price at $4.50 per gallon. OPM will carry out in the coming days a survey of local gas stations for an average price.

At this time last year, the average retail price was $3.90 a gallon — followed by a 15 cent hike in the MAP making the average retail at the time $4.05 per gallon.

As of yesterday the national average was $3.81 per gallon while four states – including Hawai’i — and Washington D.C. had their average price above $4 per gallon, reports The Associated Press based on information released by AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Services.

As for jet fuel and kerosene in American Samoa, Kava said the new MAP as of tomorrow is $4.02 – an increase of 12 cents per gallon.

For diesel fuel, new MAP has road diesel at $4.28 per gallon; boilers/generators (used by the Tafuna Power plant) at $3.96 per gallon; commercial fishing vessel at $3.75 per gallon and other marine diesel at $3.88  — an increase of 7.5 cents per gallon, said Kava.

Regarding 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, the new MAP sees a hike of eight cents per gallon.

These increases means that local residents will be paying more for gasoline and electricity — among other things. It remains to be seen if the continued increase in gas prices will make local highways less crowded in the morning and afternoon.

“The price is once again closely tied to demand, as well as currency movements. China has now joined the US as the important global consumer of oil,” Kava said yesterday. “The speed and depth of development in China has become important in gauging demand for oil.  With that demand expected to stay in place, the price of oil, and petrol, will rise.”

Kava points out that the biggest influence on prices at present according to “This is the Money” magazine are:

•            Warm weather reducing demand in Europe;

•            Possible Israel-American action against Iran over the oil producer’s nuclear program;

•            Disruption of supplies from unstable oil producer Nigeria;

•            The threat to the global economy — and therefore oil demand — from the debt crisis in Western countries; and,

•            Increased pressure from oil speculators.