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Gas prices jump as oil prices continue to rise

Date Posted: 2005-07-09

The trucking industry is demanding action from the Prefecture government as rising oil prices boost the price of gasoline and diesel fuel in Okinawa.

The Prefecture Trucking Union has 900 company members operating 7,700 trucks, and it says the situation is unbearable. With each truck requiring 100-200 liters of fuel each tank fillup, even a one yen rise in prices makes profitability dip.

The trucking union’s vice chairman says Okinawa diesel cost is higher than in any other Prefecture, but “even though the gas costs went up, we can’t ask customers to pay our cost.” He says customers expect to pay only for their freight, and states “do we need to close the shop? No, but we do need support from the Prefecture real soon.”

The latest increases mean an increased operating cost of ¥7,700,000 a day for companies’ 7,700 trucks on Okinawa’s streets and highways. They’re demanding a meeting with union directors and government officials. Prefecture officials say they’ll seek added subsidies from the states to assist.

The situation is no more tolerable for private citizens, who are now facing ¥120 per liter cost for gas, an increase of five yen from only a few weeks ago. The price for a liter of gasoline was ¥110 less than six months ago, so everyone’s crying.

Okinawans are trapped behind the wheels of their vehicles, largely because the island lacks adequate public transportation systems. Office worker Yasuharu Taira, 33, says “I’m using my car to go to the office, but now I’m thinking to buy a motorcycle to use for my job.” He laments, though, that he still needs a car for his family. “Even if I change to a motorcycle, we still have to pay for expensive gas. Why?”, he asks.

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