German, U.S. officials sign permanent fuel ration agreement

Gas privileges extended to more government personnel, vehicles

MANNHEIM, Germany — The final arrangement governing use of the fuel ration card for U.S. servicemembers and eligible civilian employees in Germany is now in effect, U.S. Army Europe Office of the Provost Marshal officials announced.

Col. David B. LeMauk of the U.S. Army Europe OPM, customs executive agent for U.S. forces in Germany, and Juergen Hartlich, chief of the Customs and Excise Department at the German Federal Finance Ministry, signed the agreement at Taylor Barracks in Mannheim, Germany, Oct. 30.

The finance ministry customs department agreed to expand the range of authorized customers to include U.S. embassy and consular personnel and U.S. Mission in Germany government vehicles; NATO International Military Headquarters personnel stationed in Germany and NATO IMH duty vehicles, and — in exceptional situations — other personnel not covered by the Status of Forces Agreement.

The final arrangement replaced the previous temporary agreements that had been in effect so far and contained only minor administrative changes over the earlier accords, OPM officials said. It places greater controls on fuel transactions at Army and Air Force Exchange Service and Esso stations. The system’s automated data collection also makes it easy for customs investigators to detect fuel ration abuse.

“Signing the permanent fuel card arrangement is a positive conclusion to many years of work on this important issue,” LeMauk said. “The fuel card arrangement provides positive controls to protect the rights of U.S. forces members while tremendously reducing the opportunities for abuse.”

The German government had asked the U.S. forces in Germany to change from fuel coupons to an automated gas ration card so better checks could be put in place to prevent potential abuse, OPM officials said, adding that those safeguards help protect the overall benefit of being able to buy fuel at prices that are free of German duties and taxes.

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