For a month, people in Japan have enjoyed lower gas prices at the pump because a gas tax had expired and legislators had not agreed on a new one to replace it and fund roads for repairs and construction. But that all came to a close as of today, May 1st, 2008.
Here in Japan when there is a long line of cars, it usually means it’s dinnertime and people are in line for kaiten sushi. But that hasn’t been the case lately. For the past few days, cars have been lining up at about every gas station throughout Japan as people have been filling up their cars with cheaper gas trying to beat the new gas tax before it kicked in today.
Just before midnight last night the price of gas was as low as 123 yen a liter. But after midnight, the new gas tax became law and gas is now 25 yen higher. Most stations are now selling their gas at or around 150 yen per liter, and as the demand for gas grows over Golden Week, so may the price of gas!
For the lowest priced gas in the Kansai area, try stations along Route 1 near the Osaka-Kyoto border and along northern Highway 171 outside Takatsuki to southern Kyoto. Most of the time, gas is cheaper at stations the farther you drive outside Osaka City north towards Kyoto. Many say the reason is because there are more drivers on those roads and city people don’t care about the price of gas as much as country folks. I don’t know about the number of drivers in Osaka City, but I do know that country people do shop around more than city people. So that may be a good reason why gas outside Osaka is cheaper!