“A 25-cent increase in gas in just one week is ridiculous yet when they try to drop the prices, it takes a long time,” Rep. Stanley Torres (Ind-Saipan) said yesterday.
Torres, chairman of the House Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation and Communications, has been asking the Office of the Attorney General to monitor Mobil and Shell Marianas’ prices, which he describes as “too high.”
“The latest increases are very disappointing. They have been earning millions of dollars, and donating lots of money too and I am guessing those donations are for tax breaks,” he said.
The pump price of regular unleaded gasoline on Saipan is now $4.759 a gallon, up 10 cents from $4.659 a gallon at Mobil service stations.
Super unleaded gasoline now costs $5.079 a gallon, also up 10 cents from $4.979 a gallon.
Diesel, however, remained unchanged at $5.069 a gallon.
As of yesterday afternoon, Shell Marianas service stations had yet to change prices. Mobil and Shell historically mirror each other’s price changes.
The CNMI, especially Rota, has the dubious distinction of having the highest gas prices on American soil. As of yesterday, average regular gas price in the U.S. was $3.506 a gallon.
Oil was little changed near $88 a barrel Wednesday in Asia ahead of weekly U.S. crude inventory figures that give a reading on the state of near-term demand for fuel, the Associated Press reported.
Saipan’s gas prices started increasing again on July 17, after a series of gas price reductions totaling 60 to 65 cents since May 8.
A government employee said while work hours will be increased to 72 hours starting next week from the current 64 hours, the eight-hour increase might only go to buy gas for their vehicles.
By Haidee V. Eugenio