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Crude oil over $100 a barrel sends petroleum prices up

Motorists and utility paying customers should brace themselves for the next hike in prices for all petroleum products sold in American Samoa, when the new Maximum Allowable Price (MAP), or wholesale price, goes into effect tomorrow.

“The main contributing factor to the increase... is the hike in the price of crude oil now averaging at over $100 a barrel,” ASG petroleum officer Sione Kava said yesterday. “The new year is bringing for us high prices for all petroleum products and this is the same for the rest of the region who depend on imported fuel.”

Kava said crude oil heading upwards is due to ongoing turmoil in the Middle East such as the Iranian government’s threat to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a very important waterway in the region that is used by tankers to export some 40% of the world’s oil.

“We can always expect a hike in crude oil prices when any part of the Middle East or major oil producing countries are in chaos,” said Kava in a telephone interview.

Effective Feb. 1, the new MAP for gasoline will be $3.85 per gallon, an increase of 18 cents per gallon, said Kava, who works at the Office of Petroleum Management and will conduct later this week a survey of the retail price.

As of last Friday the average retail price was about $4.09 per gallon, and Samoa News received word yesterday of a gas station selling just over $4.10 per gallon.

As this time last year, MAP for gasoline hiked by 7 cents per gallon to $3.46 per gallon. Retail price at the time was between $3.77 and $3.80 per gallon.

For jet fuel and kerosene, the new MAP—effective tomorrow— will be $3.85 per gallon, an increase of 15 cents per gallon, said Kava.

For diesel fuel, new MAP has road diesel at $4.15 per gallon; boilers/generators (used by the Tafuna Power plant) at $3.84 per gallon; commercial fishing vessel diesel at $3.63 per gallon and other marine diesel at $3.76 - an increase of 17 cents per gallon.

 Regarding the Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD), which is used for the eleven new  generators at the American Samoa Power Authority’s temporary power generation system (TPGS)  in Satala, the new MAP for boilers/generators is $3.87 per gallon while ULSD road diesel (used by Education Department school buses) is $4.19 per gallon - also an increase of 17 cents per gallon, said Kava.