|FORT MCCOY (Army and Air Force Exchange Service Public
Affairs) — According to a recent Short-Term Energy Outlook report from
the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “the annual average
regular-grade retail gasoline price will increase from $2.35 per gallon
in 2009 to $2.84 in 2010,” with prices in some instances topping the $3
a gallon mark.
Forecasts of increasing energy prices has Army and Air Force Exchange
Service (AAFES) officials reaching out to drivers to ensure they are
aware of the procedures in place to determine pump prices at Fort McCoy
as well as the benefits available to authorized exchange patrons.
Authorized patrons fill up their
gasoline tanks at the Fort McCoy Post Exchange Shoppette. The PX
offers fuel savings, such as five-cents-a-gallon reduction for
those with Military StarŪ Cards.
Photo by Rob Schuette
While overall energy prices are beyond AAFES’ control, their Military
StarŪ Card, for example, can help curb added expenses and, in turn, save
servicemembers money when filling up.
“Anytime a customer uses a bank-issued debit or credit card, the
retailer pays a portion of the transaction to a third-party financial
institution,” said Fort McCoy AAFES General Manager Donna Walton.
“Because the Military StarŪ Card is administered by the Exchange Credit
Program, our Post Exchange (PX) Shoppette is not subject to the
additional fees incurred through other ‘pay at the pump’ options. As a
result, we’re able to pass savings on to authorized exchange shoppers by
taking a nickel off each gallon dispensed.”
In addition to the five-cents-a-gallon savings Military StarŪ Card
holders enjoy every day, the Fort McCoy PX Shoppette periodically also
offers steeper discounts, up to 20 cents a gallon.
Drivers interested in learning more about the Military StarŪ Card fuel
discount can visit the Fort McCoy PX in building 1538 or log on to
http://www.aafes.com and click the
Military StarŪ Card icon for additional details.
Beyond exclusive discounts, AAFES’ Shoppettes rely on a survey process
to ensure prices are fair and competitive with the local community.
Specifically, AAFES conducts daily surveys of at least five locations
selling motor fuel, deemed by the local general managers to be the
Pump prices then are set equal to the lowest price surveyed for each
grade of fuel available, AAFES officials said.
“Because market-based pricing is not contingent on cost, we survey and
change prices as frequently as necessary to remain competitive,” said
Walton. “In fact, even though AAFES is responsible for charging sales
tax on gasoline, the surveys can result in prices that are actually even
Charging sales tax on fuel can raise the eyebrows of shoppers used to
the tax-free benefit that the exchange provides on almost everything,
While it is true that AAFES, as a U.S. government instrumentality, is
immune from state and local taxes, the immunity specific to fuel has
been waived by Congress (Hayden Cartwright Act, 4 U.S.Code 104).
AAFES, and by extension its customers, also pays federal tax pursuant
the U.S. code that covers federal tax on gasoline (26 U.S.C. § 4081(a)).
Accordingly, AAFES pump prices include state, federal and local motor
fuel taxes, as well as underground storage fees, etc. The federal and
state taxes, as well as other applicable fees, are included in the price
and paid to the appropriate taxing authority.
“Gas pricing is a very complex issue, impacted by world markets,
political and economic factors,” said Walton. “With that said, we remain
focused on delivering the best value possible to drivers at Fort McCoy.”