Saipan motorists got another reprieve at the pump when Mobil Oil Mariana Islands reduced its pump prices by another 10 cents a gallon at 4pm yesterday, two weeks since a 20-cent a gallon price cut.
The latest price change brings to 50 cents the total gas price reductions since May 8.
However, the CNMI, especially Rota, still has the dubious distinction of having the highest gas prices on American soil.
CNMI prices range from $4.659 to $6.70 a gallon, but average price in the U.S. is $3.528 a gallon on Monday.
Regular unleaded gasoline at Mobil service stations on Saipan is now $4.659 a gallon, down from $4.759 a gallon.
Mobil's super unleaded gasoline is now $4.979 a gallon.
Diesel at Mobil stations is now $5.019 a gallon.
Shell Marianas has yet to change its prices as of early last night. Mobil and Shell have historically mirrored each other's prices changes, so it may only be a matter of hours or days before Shell also cuts its pump prices.
Boy Ching, a Saipan businessman, said now that gas prices have been decreasing, the costs of other goods and services, including food items and utilities that are affected by gas prices should also start dropping.
“I have yet to see price cuts for other products. But I hope gas prices will drop some more,” he told Saipan Tribune. Ching said he spends some $50 a week on vehicle gas alone, and he hopes to stretch that budget further with the series of gas price reductions.
Other motorists said every drop in gas price helps a lot in these times when work hours and salaries are being cut by as much as 30 hours biweekly.
Rep. Edmund Villagomez (Cov-Saipan), chair of the House Commerce and Tourism Committee, said yesterday that the series of price decreases is “welcome news” to everyone “and it would be nice if they continue to go down.”
“There's an expectation that power rates would also go down as fuel prices continue to go down,” he said.
Rep. Stanley Torres (Ind-Saipan), chair of the House Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation and Communications, said Mobil's price cut is “welcome relief” to everyone affected by gas prices.
Mobil earlier said that prices of gasoline are determined by a number of factors, including changes in the world market wholesale prices of gasoline, regional gasoline supply and demand balance, transportation costs, insurance, local distribution, marketing costs, government regulations, taxes, competitive market forces, and investments in retail stations and distribution terminals.
Oil dropped below $83 a barrel Tuesday in Asia as traders closely watched talks between Iran and six world powers over the Middle Eastern country's nuclear program, Associated Press said.
Crude has plunged from $110 in February as fears eased that the U.S. or Israel would attack Iranian nuclear facilities and disrupt global oil supplies. Signs of slowing economic growth and oil demand in the U.S., Europe, and China have also pushed prices lower. (With reports from AP)