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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, May 2) - French Polynesia motorists began paying less for diesel fuel and unleaded gasoline on May 1 following a decision taken by the Council of Ministers earlier last week.

This is the first time since 1997 and only the second time in the past 10 years that the price of unleaded gasoline has dropped at service stations in Tahiti, the French Polynesia government reported.

The price of diesel fuel dropped 6 French Pacific francs on Saturday from 105 CFP (US$1.08/€ 88 cents) to 99 F CFP ($1.02/€83 cents) per liter.

That works out to a drop from $4.09 a gallon to $3.86 a gallon at Friday’s exchange rate.

The price of unleaded gasoline dropped 2 F CFP on Saturday from 130 F CFP ($1.34/€1.09) to 128 F CFP ($1.32/€1.07) per liter. That works out to a drop from $5.07 a gallon to $5 a gallon at Friday’s exchange rate.

French Polynesia’s three fuel companies—Mobile, Total and Shell—buy their fuel in U.S. dollars. Since early December 2003 the exchange rate for the U.S. dollar dropped 3.4 percent. The government’s price lowering decision stems from a proposal by the Finance Ministry to pass along the savings to motorists.

The new price for diesel fuel represents a drop of 5.7 percent in the F CFP cost. The new price of unleaded gasoline represents a drop of 1.5 percent in the F CFP price.

The lowering of the price of diesel fuel below 100 F CFP per liter means the new price is lower than it was in September 2000, the Council of Ministers said in its report last Wednesday.

The new price for unleaded gasoline, meanwhile, is almost what it was in July 2000, the council’s report states.

The price of unleaded gasoline was lowered in 1997 in order to promote this type of fuel as being less dangerous to the environment and public health than leaded gasoline, which is no longer sold.

Meanwhile, the price of all other hydrocarbons remained unchanged on Saturday. They included the price for fuel for trucks, fishing boats, inter-island cargo ships and Tahitian cultured pearl producers. The government lowered the price of fuel for pearl producers by 25percent at the beginning of this year.

May 4, 2004



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