Saipan motorists got another surprise at the pump when Mobil Oil Mariana Islands increased its gas prices by 15 cents a gallon on Tuesday night, bringing to 40 cents the total increases since July 17.
The three price increases came after a series of rollbacks totaling 60 to 65 cents since May 8.
Regular unleaded gasoline is now $4.909 a gallon at Mobil service stations on Saipan, up from $4.759 a gallon.
Super unleaded gasoline now costs $5.229 a gallon.
Diesel is now $5.219 a gallon.
As of early last night, Shell Marianas service stations had yet to change prices. Mobil and Shell historically mirror each other's price changes.
Rose Lisua, a Northern Marianas College student, was surprised to learn of another price increase. She said she has to further cut other areas of expenses to make up for the 15-cent a gallon increase in gas, especially because she's using a six-cylinder vehicle.
“No more cruising around to save gas,” said the Chalan Laulau resident as she was buying gas at Mobil's service station in Garapan yesterday afternoon. She said she spends some $20 for gas, and that lasts for only two days.
Eric Borja, a former inspector for the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission, was appalled at the series of increases in gas prices and asked the Legislature to “do something about it.”
“That 15 cents should have been for food for the family but instead it goes to buying gas. We the people can't do anything about the gas prices but maybe the lawmakers can,” said the 36-year-old father of three as he was buying gas at a Mobil station yesterday.
The CNMI, especially Rota, has the dubious distinction of having the highest gas prices on American soil.
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.