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Higher gasoline prices to go into effect this month

Date Posted: 2007-08-02

With vacation season in full swing, consumers are facing another price increase at the gas pumps.

Japan Oil Company says it’s upping Okinawa prices to Y140 per liter this month, while prices in mainland go up even more. “It will go up, but not as high as on the mainland, where it will be ¥144 per liter,” says a company official. The current gas price fluctuates between ¥131~132 per liter, depending on the local retailer.

Competition is keeping retail costs tight, says the oil company executive. Okinawa retailers buy from wholesale oil companies, then sell to consumers at cost plus 5%, plus cost of operating expenses and profit. He says gas stations have to work hard to attract customers from their competitors, and often lower their prices ¥2~5, leaving them with little or no profit.

August is a particularly difficult month for retailers, as customers use their cars frequently for summer vacations. The official says families want to travel, but he expects some fathers to say “no more long trips” because of the rising prices.

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