Nov 7, 2005 — If you believe oil price increases are immediately reflected in prices at the gas pump, but when oil prices drop, it takes longer to be reflected at the pump, you are not alone.
Andrew Rutnik, commissioner of the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, said he has been monitoring the situation for years and has concerns. He said that when prices in rack rates from Hovensa went up 20 cents on Oct. 6 prices were immediately increased at the pump.
However, Hovensa announced a decrease of 32 cents a gallon in rack rates for regular on St. Croix Friday, but on Monday a survey of gas stations by the Source on St. Croix showed only one gas station had reduced its rates.
Gateway Gas Station on Centerline Road in Anna's Hope had dropped its prices 20 cents to $2.25 for regular and $2.35 for premium on Monday morning.
Gas stations along Northside Road including Everybody's Service Station, Budget, Five Corners and the self service at Orange Rock plaza had prices of $2.45 for regular and $2.55 for premium. J & N had prices of $2.46 and $2.56. Prices at the Welco Station and the Tide Village station on East End Road were still $2.49 and $2.59 late Monday afternoon.
Rutnik said the V.I. laws covering price gouging were very clear and his department was monitoring the situation.
He said the situation on St. Thomas and St. John was different. His office is notified directly by Hovensa when prices change on St. Croix (the rack rate). The cost of gas to St. Thomas and St. John is indexed to numbers that reflect closely the national average and those figures are not readily available to his office.
However, Rutnik said he had seen news reports about the average cost of gas being in steady decline stateside. So, he would expect to see some falling off of gas prices on St. Thomas and St. John, also.
Gottlieb's Quickway Service Station on St. Thomas's Veteran's Drive was pumping regular at just under $3.07 a gallon on Monday; premium was going for $3.16.
At Friendly Grocery on the Northside regular was $3.12 and premium was $3.22.
Reuters News Service reported Sunday that the average retail price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States fell 23.3 cents over the past two weeks, according to an industry analyst, leaving gasoline prices down almost 50 cents over the past month.
The Detroit Free Press reported on its online edition Monday afternoon "Michigan gasoline prices fell another 12 cents last week to an average of $2.27 a gallon, according to a survey by AAA Michigan.
"Pump prices have dropped nearly 66 cents in the last month. But they are still 27 cents higher than they were this time last year. "
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