April 9, 2009 — Demand for fuel on St. John has dropped thanks to a slowdown in tourists, E&C gas station manager Myrtle Barry said Thursday.
"Two weeks ago there was a major decrease," she said.
St. John has suffered for much of the winter season with a shortage of fuel because Hovensa wouldn't supply enough.
E&C needed four tanks of gas a week during the winter season to meet demand, but she said Hovensa would only supply three. Hovensa spokesman Alex Moorhead was on vacation and could not be reached for comment. But in February, Moorhead said that while Hovensa produces enough fuel to meet the demand, its truck loading rack was built to fill only the trucks that deliver to St. Croix gas stations. He said the loading rack cannot accommodate the additional volume of fuel required to supply the service stations on the other two islands.
Last year, Barry began buying fuel direct from Hovensa to cut costs to her customers. She hired Boynes Trucking to transport the fuel in trucks on barges to St. John. Previously she bought fuel from a supplier, which made for higher prices.
However, Barry anticipates a repeat of the shortage problem next winter season because she said the St. Croix-based Hovensa indicated she will only get three tanks.
St. John has only two gas stations. E&C is in Cruz Bay, and Domino is in Coral Bay.
Despite Barry's efforts, fuel prices on St. John remain higher than on the other two islands. A Licensing and Consumer Affairs Department survey conducted April 2 and 3 on all three islands shows that E&C, a self-service station, sells regular at $2.54 a gallon and premium at $2.72
Domino, a full service gas station, sells regular at $3.04 a gallon and premium at $3.12.
The best price on St. John for diesel fuel was at the Domino gas station at $2.91 per gallon. E&C charged $3.03 a gallon.
On St. Thomas, Licensing found in its survey of 30 gas stations that the lowest price was $2.47 at five self-service and one full service stations: the Texaco stations at the airport, in Tutu and in Smith Bay, One Stop and Race Track in Sugar Estate as well as Gas Works in Bovoni.
One Stop and Race Track charged $2.52 for premium, the lowest on the survey. Smith Bay Texaco had the next lowest price for premium at $2.55.
The highest prices for full service gasoline were found at the Domino gas stations with regular at $2.97 a gallon and premium at $3.05 per gallon.
The stations with the highest prices for self-service gasoline were One Stop Red Hook and Friendly Grocery Texaco with regular at $2.59 and premium at $2.69.
Domino at the airport, in Smith Bay and in Frydenhoj had the lowest prices for diesel at $2.84 a gallon. The highest price for diesel fuel was found at Tutu Texaco and Total On the Run in Tutu at $3.35 per gallon.
As usual, residents of St. Croix, where the Hovensa refinery is located, are getting a bargain compared to the other two islands. Licensing's survey of 29 gas stations showed that Capital Service Station, which is self-serve, had the lowest price for regular at $1.72 a gallon. The full service NuWay gas station in Hogensberg was the next cheapest at $1.89 a gallon for regular.
Everybody's Service Station and One Love Service Station, both in LaGrande Princess, charged $1.95 for premium. Both are self service stations. Nuway charged $1.99 for premium.
The highest price for full service gasoline was found at Speedys Gas, with regular at $2.89 a gallon and premium at $2.99 per gallon. The stations with the highest prices for self-service gasoline were Virgin Petroleum- Boetzberg, Inc., Smokeys Service Corp, and Budget Gas Station with regular at $1.89 per gallon. Budget Gas Station also had the highest price for premium gasoline at $2.29 per gallon.
The cheapest diesel was $2.40 a gallon at Speedy Gas in Castle Coakley. The highest price for diesel fuel was found at Lionel Service Center at $3.50 per gallon.
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