Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Another Reason to Love Ibaraki

Oil prices have jumped up again. Gasoline at our local stations went up 8 yen a liter (about 25 cents a gallon) last week. Diesel now costs as much as gasoline did last year. Yes, it's a worldwide problem that looks to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. However, there is a speck of brightness in all of this.

Not long after the gas price jump, the news media did some investigating and comparing. Guess what: Ibaraki Prefecture currently has the lowest average gasoline prices in the entire country. I'm sure part of the reason stems from the fact of the Kashima Petrochemical Kombinat over in Kamisu having some of the largest refining facilities in Japan. However, the news interviewed some gas station workers and owners and found that many of them had conferred among themselves and agreed to keep prices to a minimum, even if it meant a loss of revenue, out of concern for their customers.

Evidence of cartelism? Probably. But I'm not going to complain. And this is here in Ibaraki, the prefecture which has perhaps the worst reputation for being ill mannered. Then again, that just might be the gruff-sounding local dialect. ;-)

(Image links to source page,

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  • Well, I hope the community feelings continue-everybody needs all the help they can get!

    By Blogger ladybug, at 12:04 AM  

  • US gas station owners have a different method. Pretend they are making almost no profit when they raise prices on any rumor, then wait until the last possible second to lower them again. Of course, our gas is a fraction of the price of Japan, so we still have little reason to complain.

    As Pandabonium might say, "That bike is looking better all the time."

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 1:01 AM  

  • 25 Cents a gallon? Is that a typo? how is that expensive?

    By Blogger Olivia, at 9:26 AM  

  • Spare a thought for us poor brits paying a £pound (2$US) a litre.

    Of course if you are lucky the price changes a couple of pence either side of a £pound

    The amazing thing is that car ownership and car use still hasn't dropped off ...
    well car use has been reduced in City Centres where they've introduced Congestion Charges (daily Road Tax) and/or have have Park & Ride in the outskirts offering free bus rides into town.

    I would have thought Japan would have been a world leader on electric cars. After limited supplies of Oil were partly the reason Japan & Germany lost WWII, despite the development of the diesel engine

    By Blogger QUASAR9, at 10:00 AM  

  • Here in Indonesia, 1 liter gas costed around 90 cents (USD) and that is a lot especially with the low salary wage (the government still subsidy).

    Few weeks ago, I just found out that a public bus driver earns only 4 USD per day (8 - 10 working hours) and the bus driver assistant get 2 USD (and for sure, they don't get any insurance, meal allowance, transport allowance, nothing at all), crazy huh?

    Well yes, people still can get a decent meal (rice with veggie and fried egg/fish) for 50 cents on the street but if they want to eat 1 package meal of McDonald burger, they need to spend at least 3 USD.

    By Blogger Selba, at 10:30 AM  

  • Ladybug
    Keep the beer (and hopposhu) flowing, and everyone will stay happy.

    Maybe I should start looking into getting one.

    I meant a 25 cents a gallon increase, m'lady. Right now, here in Ibaraki, the average price of gasoline is 145 yen a liter. That works out to just under $5.00 a gallon.

    No kidding? A quid a litre? Okay, I guess you have us beat, but I wonder how much of that is taxes.

    That's why many countries have what's called a Minimum Wage Law, so people can earn at least a basic living. Of course, it can also means businesses can't afford to hire so many people, so sometimes unemployment goes up. It can be a bit of a tradeoff.

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 12:39 PM  

  • Like Indonesia, gas price in Malaysia is subsidy by the government. We are expecting it to shoot up for the 4th or 5th time this year, from the current 60 USD cents/liter - cheap, you might want to say that. But for people who lived so long under subsidy it's certainly not easy when government suddenly cry foul and said they can't do it anymore. Good thing is, unlike other mammals, mankind like challenges.

    Love Ibaraki, but not the gas? :)

    By Blogger @ロウ 。LOW@, at 1:10 PM  

  • Interesting that gas price varies in different parts of Japan. Over here, the price applies nationwide.

    These days people are opting for smaller cars, mostly locally-made cars.

    By Anonymous happysurfer, at 9:37 PM  

  • I noted today that the price of kerosene (our heating fuel for our non-Japan residents out there) has jumped from 75 yen per liter to 88 yen per liter in about 3 weeks (Homac store, Kashima). Will check Joyful Honda, Itako, next fill up as they often have better prices.

    As for "getting better", don't hold your breath. They aren't making fossil fuels anymore, and demand from the developing world doesn't seem likely to slow down.

    Have I mentioned how much I love my bicycle lately?

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 10:09 PM  

  • Low
    Greetings, long-lost traveler!

    I imagine it would be quite a shock for the public suddenly to have to pay realistic prices with the government I.V. suddenly yanked out of its collective arm!

    It varies a lot in the U.S., too. That's what happens when free market rules apply.

    How do you heat a house with a bicycle?

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 12:39 AM  

  • How you heat a house with a bicycle.

    You jack up the rear wheels and pedal until you get really warm.

    Sweat equity...

    By Anonymous Dave, at 3:19 AM  

  • Exactly right, Dave. :^)

    Or you ride over to a relative's house and burn their kerosene.

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 2:17 PM  

  • ... and how much more food will you use when you are heating your house with your bicycle? How much money will you really save? :-)

    By Blogger DewKid, at 9:31 AM  

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