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Hovensa Raising Rates it Charges Gas Stations

June 11, 2008 — Hovensa will raise its rack rate Thursday by 24 cents a gallon for regular gasoline, 25 cents a gallon for premium and 29 cents a gallon for diesel, company spokesman Alex Moorhead said Wednesday.
"It reflects the change in the market since last month," he said.
Hovensa reviews the rack rate once a month to adjust it according to market fluctuations, Moorhead said. Hovensa's rack rate will run $3.165 a gallon for regular, $3.305 for premium and $3.585 for diesel.
Hovensa's rack rate was set last week at $2.92 per gallon of regular and $3.05 per gallon of premium, Licensing's news release indicated. The rack rate is the rate Hovensa sells fuel products to independent gas stations across the territory.
Gas stations owners and managers on all three islands were expecting the increase, but when the jump is felt at the pump depends on when the gas station purchases fuel.
E&C Manager Myrtle Barry said Wednesday that the St. John station's prices remained the same as they were last week. However, she said that once she starts selling fuel she buys at the increased price, her customers will feel the pinch.
"People are complaining," she said.
Those complaints are directed at the wrong person since Barry, like other gas station owners and managers, is at the end of the pipeline. The problems begins with the high cost of crude oil, which hit $136 a barrel Wednesday.
If there was a refinery on St. Thomas, St. John residents wouldn't have to pay the additional transportation costs to St. John from St. Croix.
"Transportation is very expensive," she said.
Barry also feels the pain since she said she pays full price at E&C's pumps for her personal fuel.
Jose Lima, who owns Gas Works on St. Thomas, and Hasen Ali, manager at La Reine Service Station on St. Croix, said their customers are also crying.
"They always complain," Ali said.
Lima said he's trying to keep the price down, but will get a shipment of fuel Friday. This means he'll have to raise his prices.
The 24-, 25- and 29-cents-a-gallon increases come on the heels of a gasoline survey released Tuesday by the Licensing and Consumer Affairs Department. It covers prices gathered June 6.
In the survey, the cost of fuel ranged from a low of $3.37 a gallon on St. Croix to a high of $4.82 on St. John.
The results of similar surveys will be made public every two weeks to afford V.I. motorists timely information about where they can get the best buy, Licensing Commissioner Kenrick Robertson said in a news release.
Licensing will continue to monitor the variations in the price of fuel between St. Thomas and St. Croix, especially given the fact that the Hovensa refinery is located on St. Croix, Robertson said.
"We have begun to look at the price differences to determine whether St. Thomas and St. John residents are being overcharged at the pump given the Hovensa rack rate and the pricing disparity that our biweekly survey indicates," he said.
Robertson could not be reached for further comment.
In the June 6 survey on St. Croix, the lowest price per gallon of self-service regular octane gasoline, $3.37, could be found at six service stations. They are Capital Service Station, Cruzan Petroleum, Gas for Less and mini-mart, Gateway Service Station, Virgin Petroleum-Diamond, and Sion Farm Service Station.
The best buy on self-service premium gasoline was found at Virgin Petroleum-Diamond at $3.47 per gallon.
The best full-service regular octane gasoline price could be obtained at two locations — Lower Love Service Station and at Nu-Way Gas Station at $3.69 per gallon. Nu-Way Gas Station also offered the best buy on full-service premium gasoline at $3.79 per gallon.
The most expensive gasoline on St. Croix was full-service premium octane at $4.49 per gallon at Speedy Gas.
On St. Thomas, the best price per gallon of self-service regular gasoline was found at Gas Works in Bovoni at $4.18. Gas Works also had the best price per gallon of self-service premium at $4.29. Gas Works is the only independently owned and operated service station on St. Thomas.
For full-service regular, the best price per gallon was found at Smith Bay Texaco at $4.29. For full-service premium, the best price was also at Smith Bay Texaco, which sold this grade of gasoline for $4.40 per gallon.
The most expensive gas on St. Thomas was found at Tutu Texaco, which sold a gallon of full-service premium at $4.67.
On St. John, the best bargain was found at Domino Oil, which offered full-service regular at $4.36 per gallon. Domino on St. John offered full-service premium at $4.47 per gallon. The only other service station on St. John, E&C, sold self-service regular at $4.65 a gallon and self-service premium at $4.82 a gallon. E&C does not offer full service.
Diesel fuel averaged $4.22 per gallon on St. Croix, $4.74 per gallon on St. John and $4.67 per gallon on St. Thomas.
By comparison, the cost of regular ranged from $4.17 to $4.32 per gallon at HESS branded service stations in Connecticut, while the gallon price of regular at CITGO stations also in Connecticut ranged from $4.15 to $4.59.
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