HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gasoline prices are still falling slowly, both in Hawaii and on the U.S. mainland, with gas still costing more in several U.S. west cities than in Honolulu.
Based on average regular prices reported daily by AAA, Honolulu gas is a dime cheaper than gas in San Francisco, 11 cents below the average in Los Angeles, and significantly below prices in San Luis Obispo, Reno and Juneau. Gas in those places is also more expensive than the average in Hilo.
Here are today's AAA self-serve regular averages, rounded off to the nearest dollar:
- Wailuku $3.11
- Juneau $2.89
- Reno $2.69
- San Luis Obispo $2.64
- Hilo $2.55
- Los Angeles $2.53
- San Diego $2.52
- San Francisco $2.51
- Santa Barbara $2.46
- Honolulu, Fairbanks $2.42
Last week U.S. crude oil inventories reached their highest level for this time of year in nearly 80 years, suggesting gasoline will continue to be priced more than $1 lower than year-ago levels.
Hawaii prices tend to be among the highest in the nation, on a per gallon basis, because it is a small market with little competition – only two small refineries, and limited choices for middlemen to handle distribution to the even smaller neighbor island markets. Hawaii markets are even smaller than would be suggested by population alone, because driving distances are shorter than on the mainland.
Retail prices are also affected by high rents on gas stations.
AAA tracks gas prices by using a contractor to electronically harvest the last credit card receipts of the night at thousands of gas stations nationwide.
Cheaper energy prices are the single most important factor driving most major economic indicators at the moment, from inflation (projected to be only 2% this year, because of low energy costs) to the trade deficit (we're not importing fewer goods, but what we pay for imports is down, due to lower oil prices).