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Increases have impact on government budget

By Therese Hart SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, April 29, 2011) – In Guam, Island residents experienced gas pump sticker shock when they pulled into a Mobil station yesterday morning to gas up, only to find that the price for regular unleaded went up another US 10 cents to US$4.62 a gallon.

The seemingly non-stop series of gas-price hikes has caught the attention of island leaders.

Speaker Judi Won Pat said she will call for a roundtable discussion and will set up the agenda with Senator Tom Ada.

Won Pat is concerned that the increase might already have a negative impact with government vehicles such as school buses and fire and police vehicles.

She said the gas-price hikes are affecting the already cash-strapped finances of the government.

Won Pat hopes to hear from the police department as well, to ask if the price increase at the pump has triggered incidents of gas theft from vehicles.

Sen. Adolpho Palacios Sr., for his part, has introduced Bill 169, which, if enacted into law, would provide government of Guam employees the opportunity for work site assignment preference in an effort to minimize the impact of the increased costs of gas.

This should reduce travel time to and from work and hopefully encourage carpooling, said Palacios.

Palacios’ bill claims that government of Guam departments and agencies are feeling the gas crunch, where the increase is making it difficult for GovGuam to remain within their budget.

Palacios said GovGuam departments and agencies have already implemented cost reduction measures, including the procurement of fuel efficient vehicles and equipment, in addition to restricting unnecessary use of government vehicles.

Sen. Palacios also introduced Resolution 85, encouraging members of the Guam Chamber of Commerce and local businesses to provide their employees with the same opportunity for work site assignment preference when practical and without adversely affecting the business.

Oil prices hit $113 a barrel when Libya announced it will not produce crude oil for a month as damaged oil fields are repaired.

According to Commodity Online (CO), oil advanced towards US$113 a barrel in Asian trade Monday, as supply concerns remained intact over Middle East and North Africa region unrest.

Light sweet crude for June delivery was seen trading atUS$112.68 a barrel at 12 noon, Singapore time, while Brent crude was at US$124.24 a barrel in London.

CO quoted analysts having lingering concerns over Libya, Africa’s largest oil reserves holder, which pushed up oil prices just before Easter holidays while tensions in Syria and Yemen also heightened fears of supply disruption from the Middle East.

Analysts also said the prices are likely to stay higher for a while as Saudi Arabia, holder of the world’s largest crude reserves, has no plans to raise production capacity.

According to CO, crude oil for June delivery rose as much as US 78 cents to US$113.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the highest intraday price since April 11, when figures reached US$113.46, the most since September 2008.

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