The wholesale price of premium grade gas from Hovensa's rack went up 17 cents to $3.54 per gallon for the week of July 30 and regular grade increased five cents per gallon, marking three straight weeks of upward-trending prices after several months of steady declines.
Prices do not include the territory's fuel tax, which was recently doubled to 14 cents per gallon, with a portion set aside for new generating equipment for the V.I. Water and Power Authority.
Even with the tax increase, Hovensa's rack rate remains well below the all-time high price of $3.68 per gallon of regular and $3.97 for premium, set the week of April 9-15.
When the Legislature increased the fuel tax, it also eliminated the current 6 percent excise tax on imported gasoline and diesel. The 6 percent tax has not been collected because gasoline and diesel was being produced within the territory at Hovensa refinery, which ceased producing gasoline in the territory earlier this year. Had the tax remained on the books, gas prices would have increased some 21 cents per gallon.
In response to the rising prices, the Division of Licensing and Consumer Affairs issued a statement Monday reminding gas station owners they "are prohibited from increasing their prices without providing documentation to the department as proof of purchase of the new fuel shipment."
According to DLCA's most recent survey of retail gas prices as of July 26, the lowest St. Croix gas prices were $3.99 per gallon for self-service premium and $3.47 for regular. On St. Thomas, the lowest self-service prices were $4.64 for premium and $4.34 for regular.