NEW HIKE PUSHES CNMI GAS TO RECORD HIGH

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Price spiked 23 cents a gallon to $4.58

By Emmanuel T. Erediano SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, March 24, 2011) – In the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Mobil Oil Marianas has again increased its regular gas price, this time from US$4.35 to US$4.45 a gallon.

The full service price of regular gas is now US$4.58, and premium gas went up from US$4.67 to US$4.77.

The price of diesel, according to Mobil Beach Road gas station attendant Ferdinand Sayson, went up from US$4.66 to US$4.76 on Monday.

Motorist Jack Matthew can only afford to buy US$5 gas every time he picks up his children from school because he’s jobless.

It’s fortunate, he added, that his wife still has a job at a restaurant so they can still afford to buy fuel for their car.

"It is very high now but what can we do?" he asked, referring to the gas prices.

As of yesterday, Shell stations had not yet increased their prices but are expected to follow suit.

Jojo Solamarin, a bartender, said he usually has a full tank which lasts for two weeks.

But now that the gas price has increased again, he may no longer "fill up" the next time he needs to buy fuel.

"I wish they roll it back next time," he said.

Eddie, who refused to give his last name said, he works at one of the prepositioned ships but he also drives around the island during his days off.

He said before he left the island a few years ago, the gas was already US$5 a gallon so he was glad to see the price going down.

But now that it’s rising again, he said the U.S. government should "allow us to drill in Montana where there’s more oil than in the Middle East."

Eddie also said the federal government should not have implemented the U.S. minimum wage rate in the CNMI because it has chased many businesses away.

The departure of businesses have put people out of jobs, he added, so it is now very hard for them to cope with increasing cost of commodities, especially gas.

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