Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — Gasoline prices stay at multiyear highs in the nation on the back of rising crude oil prices mainly reflecting growing Middle East tensions, hitting consumers hard amid the summer holiday season.
According to the Oil Information Center, the average retail price of regular gasoline in the country stood at ¥152.1 per liter as of July 30, up more than ¥20 from a year before and remaining around highs seen about three years and seven months ago.
A man in his 30s in Yokohama usually makes a homecoming trip to the city of Osaka by car every summer.
“I plan to use the Shinkansen this year,” the man said, however, noting that the higher fuel prices have made him give up on a car trip.
A woman in her 50s in the city of Toyama is also concerned about the higher gasoline prices. “I want to use a car amid this intense heat, but I’m trying not to drive too far.”
According to the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, no major changes in gasoline sales have been observed so far.
Still, since late May, the average gasoline price has been above ¥150, a threshold thought to make car users refrain from driving.
“More people may switch to public transport services from their cars for commuting and homecoming trips,” an Oil Information Center official said.
On Wednesday, a self-service gas station in Tokyo’s Koto Ward offered regular gasoline at ¥150 per liter, lower than the latest national average price.
“My boss told me to use as much as possible gas stations selling cheap gasoline,” said a male corporate worker who refueled a company vehicle at the service station that day.
“A rapid fall in crude oil prices is unlikely” as tensions over oil-producing countries, including U.S. sanctions on Iran and political turmoil in Venezuela, are expected to remain elevated, an industry official said, hinting that gasoline prices in Japan will continue to be high for the time being.Speech