HOVENSA raises prices for regular, premium gas
Published: August 27, 2012
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ST. CROIX - The wholesale price of regular gasoline in the territory continued to inch up as HOVENSA made its weekly rack rate adjustments today.
Today's change to the rack rate - the price of fuel purchased wholesale, directly from HOVENSA's truck-loading station - raised the price of regular gasoline by 1 cent and raised the price of premium gasoline by 6 cents per gallon. The rack rate for diesel fuel did not change.
Under today's adjustments, independent gas station operators in the territory now are paying $3.48 per gallon for regular gasoline; $3.84 per gallon for premium gasoline; and $3.68 per gallon for diesel fuel when they buy their fuel wholesale at HOVENSA. Those prices include the 14-cents-per-gallon tax that the refinery collects for the government.
Although HOVENSA ceased refining operations in February, it is continuing to provide wholesale gasoline at its truck loading station on St. Croix for retailers in the territory until Dec. 31.
The rack rates influence retail gasoline prices in the territory because independent gas station operators can buy their gasoline at the loading station, then resell it to their customers.
HOVENSA sets its rack rates based on the previous week's market conditions. The new rates are effective through Sunday.
On the retail side, the average retail price for regular gasoline in the United States on Thursday was $3.73 per gallon, according to the American Automobile Association's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
For premium gasoline, the average U.S. retail price on Thursday was $4.014 per gallon, and for diesel fuel, the average retail price in the United States on Thursday was $4.019 per gallon, according to AAA.
Those average retail prices represent an increase of approximately 25 cents per gallon across the board, compared with average retail prices a month ago, according to AAA.
The V.I. Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs last week also released a statement about the appearance of fuel at some retailers in the territory, noting that since HOVENSA has stopped refining operations, some importation and distribution of fuel from outside the territory has begun.
Regular gasoline refined at HOVENSA has no color, while premium gasoline refined at HOVENSA has a reddish color, according to the DLCA statement. Fuel color results from dye added to fuel, after refining, to distinguish the fuel types.
"It should be noted that the fuel color has no affect on fuel quality or octane; it merely is an additive distinct to the manufacturer and/or jurisdiction of the importer," the release said.
Consumers purchasing gasoline from retailers that now receive fuel products from Puerto Rico can expect the gasoline to have a different look, opposite to that of HOVENSA-refined fuel, the release said.
Regular gasoline from Puerto Rico displays a reddish color, while premium gasoline from Puerto Rico displays no color. Only those stations receiving imported fuel from Puerto Rico will experience this change in fuel color, and DLCA reminded stations that they are responsible for ensuring that pumps clearly identify the specific fuel type offered to consumers. Pumps and tanks must be clearly marked in a conspicuous place with the appropriate labeling of fuel type and octane.