Prices at gas stations throughout the territory continue to drop, reflecting a decrease in wholesale rates to local fuel retailers that began in July, the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs said Friday.
Consumers on St. Croix continue to see prices at the pump fall faster than those on St. Thomas and St. John because the wholesale prices on St. Croix are dropping more quickly than they are in Puerto Rico, where St. Thomas and St. John retailers purchase their fuel, the DLCA said in a press release announcing the most recent rack rates and its fuel survey results.
On St. Croix, retailers purchase fuel from Gulf Oil at the Ocean Point Terminals facility (formerly Limetree Bay Terminals) on the south shore of the island.
Through Sunday, the wholesale prices on St. Croix are $3.15 per gallon for regular, $3.26 per gallon for premium and $3.89 for diesel, according to the DLCA. Effective Monday, the wholesale price for regular fuel will remain unchanged but premium fuel will increase to $3.38 per gallon and diesel fuel will drop to $3.75 per gallon, according to the DLCA. These rates include the USVI fuel tax but not the delivery fees, it said.
As of Thursday, the average wholesale price in Puerto Rico was approximately $3.65 per gallon for regular; $4.30 for premium; and $4.13 for diesel, the DLCA said. Not included in the prices are the USVI fuel tax and delivery fees.
The DLCA also said it has started to subpoena documents from fuel retailers throughout the territory for the period beginning May 1, including verified copies of all records regarding costs related to operation and pricing, including bills of lading, invoices and/or contracts relating to the operation of the importation of goods, retail, and transportation trucking services of conventional gas (regular and premium) and diesel fuel in the territory.
“After inspecting the documents submitted by each fuel retailer, DLCA shall determine whether or not it needs to invoke its power to determine fuel prices pursuant to Virgin Islands Code Title 12A Section155a,” said Commissioner Richard Evangelista.
As of Thursday, the average cost of fuel on St. Croix was $4.47 for regular, $5.02 for premium and $5.11 for diesel, according to the DLCA. That’s a drop from the last survey in June, when regular prices were around $5.50 per gallon, and premium at or more than $6.
Pit Stop Service Station and Titan Service station had the lowest price for regular fuel, at $4.19 per gallon, and Budget Gas Station was the highest, at $5.29. Titan Service Station had the lowest premium fuel price, at $4.49 per gallon, while One Love Station Hannah’s Rest had the highest, at $5.99. The lowest diesel price was found at One Love Station Hannah’s Rest, at $4 per gallon, and the highest at Budget Gas Station, at $5.79.
On St. Thomas, the average cost of fuel as of Thursday was $5.64 for regular, $6 for premium and $6.22 for diesel, according to the DLCA. That’s a drop from around $5.90 a gallon for regular gas and $6 for premium in June.
1st Stop, 1st Stop Frydenhoj, Gas Works, Ali Baba, Petrus Frenchtown, Petrus Polyberg, Petrus Smith Bay and Race Track had the lowest price for regular fuel, at $5.49 per gallon. The highest price was found at Total Frenchtown, at $6.39, it said. 1st Stop, 1st Stop Frydenhoj, Hometown, Ali Baba, and Race Track had the lowest premium fuel price, at $5.79 per gallon, while Total Frenchtown was the highest, at $6.89. The lowest price for diesel was found at 1st Stop and 1st Stop Frydenhoj, at $5.99 per gallon, and the highest at Total Gottlieb and Total Mandel Union, at $6.59.
On St. John, the average cost of fuel as of Thursday was $6.03 for regular, $6.33 for premium and $7.38 for diesel, according to the DLCA. That’s a decrease from June, when prices ranged from $6.19 to $6.32 a gallon for regular, and $6.47 to $7.60 for premium.
Race Track had the lowest regular fuel price, at $5.99 per gallon, while E-C Gas Station was the highest, at $6.06. The lowest premium fuel price was found at Race Track, at $6.29. E-C Gas Station was highest, at $6.36. The lowest diesel price was found at Race Track, at $6.99 per gallon, and the highest at All Around Maintenance, at $7.95.
The drop in prices reflects trends on the mainland, where the average price of a gallon of gas at the pump was $4.08 as of Aug. 6, down from $5.01 in mid-June, according to the American Automobile Association.
According to GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan, the national average will continue to decline, by 10 to 25 cents per gallon, though hurricane season could push prices back up if a storm threatens oil production, he warned. De Haan said factors driving down prices include the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, clamping down on the economy and slowing down oil consumption, and an increase in U.S. domestic oil production.
For the latest and past USVI fuel survey results as well as rack rate prices, visit the DLCA website under news/surveys. For consumer-related issues, email email@example.com or call 340-713-3522 on St. Croix, 340-714-3522 on St. Thomas, or 340-693-8036 on St. John. Follow DLCA on Facebook at @dlcausvi.