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Fuel Prices to Drop at Hovensa-Supplied Stations

The Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs announced Wednesday that the Hovensa refinery’s wholesale rate dropped by 29 cents a gallon for regular and 39 cents for premium, while diesel prices went down 23 cents per gallon.
The price change took effect Thursday and impacts only those stations that buy fuel from Hovensa.
This means prices at the pumps should follow suit, giving drivers a sizable break on what they spend on gas.
According to Licensing and Consumer Affairs spokesman Shayla Solomon, Licensing will check prices at the pump Thursday on St. Croix and Friday on St. Thomas and St. John. However, the price decrease may not be reflected in this week’s survey because the price customers pay is based on what the gas station paid for the fuel.
“If we bought gas at the old price and it’s still in our tank, our prices will not drop till we get gas,” Chris Todman, an owner at E&C gas station on St. John said.
And if the gas station ordered fuel before Thursday’s price drop was announced, the price won’t go down until the next order, Todman said.
E&C is still the only open gas station on St. John. Domino, the only other station, closed several months ago and hasn’t reopened. While E&C hasn’t run out of fuel since the busier winter months, Todman said that a hurricane or rough seas could delay a fuel delivery and the station could run out of gas.
“Do not let your gas gauge go below half,” Todman advised.
Domino stations on St. Thomas are also closed. The woman who answered the phone at Domino headquarters on St. Thomas said Thursday that the general manager, Marta Perez, was not in the office. Calls left during the course of work on previous Domino-related stories were never returned.
Solomon referred questions on the price drop to Hovensa. However, former Hovensa Vice President Alex Moorhead, who previously responded to media inquiries, retired June 1, his voice mail indicated. The voice mail message referred callers to his secretary, whose voice mail message said she was on vacation and callers should phone Maria Ruiz, who had not returned phone calls requesting information.
Licensing receives notices of wholesale price changes from Hovensa, Total Petroleum, and Chevron (which was previously Texaco), before they take effect, the Licensing press release indicated.
At Gottlieb’s Quickway gas station on St. Thomas, Beatrice Plaskett said that the company gets its fuel from Total. She said she hadn’t received any notice of price decreases.
“We have to get the paper,” she said.
All three wholesalers provide fuel to retailers throughout the territory, the press release indicated. Although wholesale prices may experience planned increases periodically, retailers are prohibited from increasing their prices in anticipation of a wholesale increase. With any wholesale price change, all retailers must provide documentation to the department as proof of purchase before they can change prices.
Licensing Commissioner Wayne Biggs Jr. said in the press release that he expects retailers to adjust their prices downward as quickly they adjusted upward when price increases go into effect.

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