The CNMI continues to see back-to-back increases in fuel prices, with yesterday’s 30-cent increase pushing Saipan past the $6 mark, on the heels of international news that the United States will ban the import of Russian oil as sanction for its invasion of Ukraine over a week ago.
At around 3:40pm yesterday, Mobil Oil Marianas took the lead after raising its fuel prices by 30 cents, just five days after its last increase. As of 5:30pm press time, Shell Marianas had yet to raise its prices, which caused a traffic jam along Middle Road as people rushed to fill their tanks before the gas station officially raises its prices. Shell typically mirrors any Mobil gas price increase, so it was expected to soon implement its own price hike.
Yesterday, Mobil’s Extra fuel went up from $ 5.76 a gallon to a whopping $6.06, the highest it has ever been in years. Mobil also increased its Supreme fuel price from $6.21 to $6.51 a gallon. Its diesel went from $6.13 to $6.53 a gallon.
The Mobil gas station on Tinian had also just increased its fuel prices last week by 20 cents. Saipan’s sister is currently charging $7.50 per gallon of regular fuel while diesel had also gone up from $7.49 to $7.85. Mobil Tinian expects to increase prices again today but they were not informed how much of an increase would be implemented as of press time. The Mobil station on Tinian is an independently operated company and thus its price adjustments are not dictated by Mobil Oil Marianas.
Saipan Tribune was unable to get the current fuel prices on Rota as of 6pm press time.
According to a Mobil employee, the price of Saipan fuel today is the highest its ever been.
“In all my years pf working here and living on Saipan, I don’t think gas has ever reached $6 and now we’re even passed that. It’s astonishing,” she said.
A local motorist said he feels this is only the beginning of high gas prices and that the CNMI could even reach Tinian’s and Rota’s astonishingly expensive fuel.
“With the recent announcement made by U.S President Joe Biden banning Russian oil import, I’m sure we’re only going to continue to see weekly increases in gas prices. I personally have no opinion on banning Russian oil, but my opinion about our fuel prices today, it’s ridiculous. How will low-income individuals like myself afford gas with these crazy prices?” he said.
Another local 45-year-old motorist tried to inject some humor into the situation, saying that he now wants to invest in a horse or a cow and bring back the “old ways” of transportation.
“With these prices, it might be cheaper to get a horse or a cow to ride like the old days. If price keeps going up like this, your $10 won’t even get you a tank of gas, especially if you drive a truck like me,” he said.