• Jiji


The average pump price of regular gasoline in Japan as of Monday reached ¥160 per liter for the first time in some three years, government data showed Wednesday.

The nationwide average price rose by ¥1.3 from a week before, marking the fifth straight week of growth, due to soaring crude oil prices, according to a survey by the industry ministry.

Earlier this week, Japanese oil distributors raised wholesale prices for gas stations by around ¥2. The average pump price is therefore likely to top ¥160 for the first time in about seven years next week.

Higher prices are expected to place burdens on households as people travel after the government fully lifted its COVID-19 state of emergency on Friday.

Gas prices rose in 43 of the country’s 47 prefectures, with Kochi posting the sharpest increase of ¥3.7, followed by Yamagata and Fukui. Tottori and Okayama saw prices fall.

The highest average price by prefecture was logged in Nagasaki, which has many remote islands, at ¥169.5.

Gas stations are struggling to reflect increases in purchasing prices in retail prices. “Many gas stations are suffering from declines in profit margins,” one industry source said.

“Crude oil prices are staying high as the supply-demand balance is tight, reflecting such factors as the economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis and hurricane damage in the United States,” said an official at the Oil Information Center, which conducts the weekly survey.

Gasoline prices may remain high for a prolonged period after OPEC and some other oil producers agreed Monday to put off production cuts.

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