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Middle East woes trigger hefty gas price increases

Date Posted: 2011-03-24

Tensions stretching across the Middle East and North Africa are bringing soaring gasoline prices into Okinawa Prefecture.

The unrest in Libya and Yemen, as well as turmoil in Syria, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have caused prices to reach as high as $7.91 per gallon (¥164-169 per liter) in Ishigaki City. In Naha City, gasoline prices are in the ¥140-150 per liter range ($6.55-$7.02 per gallon), and no relief is expected any time soon.

A gasoline wholesale company says cost increases are being partially offset by the rising yen exchange rate, but that that’s beyond control for local distributors. One gasoline company spokesman in Okinawa says fears on top of the Middle East and North Africa disruptions are that “Once the effects of the East Japan Great Earthquake are fully felt, the price of gasoline will go even higher.”

Gasoline wholesalers are keeping a wary eye on news reports each day, as well as the pricing data filtering to Okinawa Prefecture. Many wholesalers are apprehensive, with one summing up the fears of many: “I expect price rises of another ¥5-10 per liter in early April. I don’t want to raise prices, but…..”

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