Japan's gasoline retail prices hit another record high

Gasoline prices at the pump in Japan have hit record highs two weeks in a row. The government will try to curb the increase by expanding its subsidy program starting Thursday.

The Oil Information Center says that as of Monday, a liter of regular gasoline averaged 186.5 yen, or about 1.27 dollars. It was the 16th straight week of increase.
The price is at its highest since 1990, when the survey began in its current form.

Crude oil prices are rising as Saudi Arabia is extending its production cut. Another factor is higher import costs due to the yen's decline.

The government has been scaling back its subsidy program since January. But it will reverse course and increase its subsidy to oil wholesalers by 7.7 yen, or about 5 cents, per liter. It plans to increase that rate in the future.

The government hopes that will bring down retail prices in October to around 175 yen, or about 1.19 dollars.