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Keeping it competitive at the pump

Lt. Col. Mark Corrao, AFSPC, waits patiently as his truck is gassed up at the Peterson shopette. In an effort to keep pricing competitive fuel prices on base are determined by surveying area stations and setting it equal to the lowest of them. (U.S. Air Force Photo, Dave Smith)

Lt. Col. Mark Corrao, AFSPC, waits patiently as his truck is gassed up at the Peterson shopette. In an effort to keep pricing competitive fuel prices on base are determined by surveying area stations and setting it equal to the lowest of them. (U.S. Air Force Photo, Dave Smith)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- There are many factors that can affect the price of gas. Online gasoline monitoring web site Gas Buddy shows prices in Colorado Springs at $2.59 per gallon and falling. The U.S. Energy Information Administration's Short Term Energy Outlook predicts gas to drop to an average of $2.11 per gallon for the end of 2015.

How does the Army and Air Force Exchange determine the price they charge for gas? There are a number of things outside of the world stage that can keep those prices competitive. For example, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service wants drivers to know they have a set of procedures in place to calculate what is paid at the pump.

"Gas pricing is a very complex issue, impacted by world markets, political and economic factors," said Patricia Austin, general manager of Colorado Springs Consolidated Exchanges. "With that said, the Exchange is doing everything within its power to deliver the best value possible to drivers at Peterson Air Force Base."

The Exchange Express uses a survey approach to keep abreast of local prices and keep prices fair and competitive in proximity to the base. At least once each day the Exchange surveys a minimum of five comparable gas stations within a five-mile radius of base. Once those numbers are obtained the prices at the Express stations are set to match the lowest of them for each grade of fuel. When setting prices efforts are made to keep the rate at all local bases as close as possible.

Different stations are surveyed each day. Customers can notify the Exchange about cheaper prices and they will check it out and take the appropriate actions. Stations are selected randomly by a market price coordinator and with hundreds of stations to choose from a good snapshot of pricing can be achieved.

"Because market-based pricing is not contingent on cost, we survey and change process as frequently as necessary to remain competitive," Austin said.

Like commercial stations, one thing Exchange gas prices are not immune to is taxes. Immunity related to fuel is waived by Congress, so Exchange gas prices include federal, state and local motor fuel taxes and related fees.

One way to save on gas prices with every fill up is to pay using a Military Star Card, said Austin. Because the card is administered by the Exchange credit program there are no fees associated with cards from third-party institutions. What that means is cardholders can save five cents per gallon when they buy gas on base.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui