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Price of crude oil drops again — good news for the Territory

With a huge decrease of 30 cents per gallon for gasoline when the new maximum allowable price (MAP), or wholesale price is released on Jan. 1, the ASG Office of Petroleum Management wishes American Samoa a Happy New Year 2015.


OPM releases the MAP twice a month — on the 1st and 16th of every month — for all petroleum products in American Samoa.  The newest MAP shows all prices with another decrease from this month.


For gasoline, the new MAP will be $2.78 per gallon, a decrease of 30 cents per gallon from the Dec. 16 MAP, according to Sione Kava, with OPM, adding that with the new MAP the average retail price at the pump is $3.64 per gallon.


“While it is entirely up to the gas station owners, I hope we’ll see at least an average of $3.34 per gallon or better on gasoline to open up the year 2015,” Kava said Monday. (While the MAP is set by OPM, gas stations add on other costs, such as labor.)


There will also be a 30 cent decrease in diesel fuel, with road diesel at $3.01 per gallon, boilers/generators $2.69 per gallon, commercial fishing vessel diesel at $2.52 per gallon and other marine diesel $2.59 per gallon, Kava said.


Jet fuel as well as kerosene (which is still being used by many Samoan families for kerosene stoves) is also showing a decrease with the new MAP.  Jet fuel is at $2.78 per gallon and kerosene: $2.81 per gallon.


According to OPM there will also be a decrease of 28 cents per gallon for the Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) for the road (which is used by several school buses and heavy equipment) and also used by boilers/generators. The eleven generators currently in use at the American Samoa Power Authority in Satala use the ULSD.


Kava said these are the lowest prices since January 2009 with the major contributing factor in the decrease being the drop in crude oil prices to below $70 a barrel.


“Oil prices tumbled due to weak demand and a stronger dollar,” he explained. “Unfortunately for most of the Pacific Island countries, this decrease in crude price which would normally translate to reduction in price at the pump is somewhat offset by depreciation of their currencies against the US dollar in the same period.”


(American Samoa and the Pacific countries get their petroleum supplies from refineries in Singapore.)


“OPM wishes a safe and prosperous New Year to American Samoa.  May there always be an un-interrupted supply of high quality fuel at the most reasonable price, to fuel our economy and our life style,” Kava said.


Oil prices dropping for the past several weeks— resulting in huge decreases in retail prices of gasoline in many cities across the country— has been big news lately, with some cities now sellinggasoline below $2 per gallon.


As of yesterday, the national average was $2.26 per gallon, with the Hawai’i average at $3.50  per gallon, according to which tracks gas prices on a daily basis, providing on its website the latest updates.