Consumers soon will feel the pinch at the gas station and on ASPA bills
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The maximum allowable price (MAP), or wholesale price, of all petroleum products — including gasoline — sold in American Samoa has increased for the second-straight month, with a higher hike this month, effective Sept. 15, according to the MAP data released over the weekend by the ASG Office of Disaster Assistance and Petroleum Management Management (ODAPM).
And the contributing factor to the hike is outside of the territory’s control, as the price of crude oil goes up, with the ongoing Russia and Ukraine war and cuts in oil production.
“Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, fuel [price] has continued to rise,” explained Eleanor Sataua of ODAPM, who has taken over Sione Kava's position at the Petroleum office since Kava — who served as the chief petroleum office for many years, retired earlier this year.
“The reason for this hike is mainly due to crude oil prices going up. If Saudi Arabia and Russia, the biggest producers and exporters of oil, continue to extend the cuts to production, the increase in oil prices will continue,” Sataua further explained.
“Oil price goes up, gas price goes up,” Sataua declared.
Data for the approved MAP posted on the ODAPM website (https://odapm.as.gov/opm-aspc) shows a decrease in the wholesale price for all petroleum products in June and July. But August shows the hike across the board, with “Mogas” or gasoline, at a nearly 11 cents per gallon increase; kerosene at just over 18 cents per gallon as well as hikes in road diesel and fuel for ASPA generators.
This month, effective Sept. 15, brought much higher increases to the MAP: gasoline $0.2242 per gallon; kerosene $0.4439 per gallon; and road diesel $0.4084.
There’s also a hike in the fuel for ASPA generators — which means an increase in the fuel surcharge in electric bill, something that ASPA is expected to release in the coming days.
The hike in the MAP means an increase in the retail price for consumers. ODAPM reiterated on its website that, while American Samoa has one of the lowest fees, tax and rents in the U.S and in the Pacific islands, “it has the highest mark up on Local Retail Price.”
According to ODAPM, the “average current mark up at the gas stations are 60 cents per gallon on Mogas and $1 per gallon on diesel. MAP + Mark-Up = Retail.”
Therefore, ASG/ OPM has no control over retail prices at gas stations.
Besides concerns with the hike in the price of gasoline, others in the community, especially lawmakers, are concerned with the increase in kerosene which is still used by numerous families on island.