March 3, 2009 – A look at gas prices by the Licensing and Consumer Affairs Department during the last week in February shows that drivers on St. Croix, as usual, are paying bargain prices compared to St. Thomas and St. John.
St. Croix drivers paid a low of $1.709 for regular gas, while on St. Thomas the lowest price for regular gas was 77 cents a gallon higher, and St. John motorists paid 94 cents a gallon more.
On St. John, E&C was the least expensive for both regular and premium gas. E&C, a self-service station in Cruz Bay, charged $2.649 for regular and $2.799 for premium. Domino, located in Coral Bay, charged $2.829 for full- service regular and $2.929 for full-service premium.
St. John continues to face uncertainties about its fuel supply. The island has only two gas stations, located at opposite ends of the island, and recent issues about supply to E&C have left the Cruz Bay area without gas on at least one occasion. (See "Fuel Problems Persist For St. John Drivers.")
Additionally, Barry said E&C ran out of regular gas for a short time Sunday morning while the station waited for a delivery.
At issue is Barry's contention that Hovensa won't supply E&C with sufficient fuel. Instead of buying fuel from a St. Thomas-based supplier, E&C buys directly from Hovensa, but hires Boynes Trucking of St. Thomas to barge the fuel over from St. Croix in trucks. This keeps the price down.
Hovensa spokesman Alex Moorhead returned a call requesting comment, but said he would get back with the answer. By late Tuesday afternoon, he had not responded.
In a letter from Moorhead to Barry previously provided by Barry, 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. Moorhead said that the loading rack cannot accommodate the additional volume of fuel required to supply the service stations on the other two islands. He wrote that Hovensa has no plans to build a new loading rack to accommodate the increased demand.
Barry said that Hovensa won't meet E&C's requirements on an as-needed basis. She is limited by the size of the fuel tanks to how much E&C can have on hand.
Additionally, E&C is the only gas station that takes credit cards, which keeps the station busy.
"Tourists predominately pay with credit cards," E&C manager Myrtle Barry said.
On St. Croix, the Licensing survey showed that prices went up for the third week in a row.
Prices for regular ranged from $1.709 to $1.759 per gallon for self-service stations. Lionel Service Center in Orange Grove was the cheapest for self-service regular at $1.709 per gallon. Capital Service Station in Estate Glynn followed at $1.729, with Everybody's Service Station in LaGrande Princess next at $1.749. One Love Service Station in LaGrande Princess was most expensive at $1.759 for self-service regular. NuWay Gas Station in Hogensberg, a full-service station, topped the price list at $1.899 for a gallon of regular gas.
Premium at the self-service stations ran $1.959 at all self-service stations, with NuWay charging $1.899 to pump the gas into your vehicle's fuel tank.
Speedy Gas in Castle Coakley and Virgin Petroleum in Diamond both charged $2.409 for diesel fuel.
On St. Thomas, fuel prices remained unchanged for the third straight week. According to Licensing's press release, franchise stations on St. Thomas consistently have higher prices than independently-owned stations.
All three stations on the survey charged the same for self-service regular – $2.479. They are One Stop in Sugar Estate, Gas Works in Bovoni and Race Track in Sugar Estate.
The Polyberg full-service Texaco charged $2.499 for regular and $2.599 for premium.
One Stop and Race Track both charged $2.529 for premium self service.
The only diesel listed was $3.149 a gallon at Frenchtown Texaco.
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