HONOLULU (KHNL) - Just when drivers started enjoying gas prices below the $2 mark, a station known for having the cheapest gas shoots its prices back up. Is it a sign we'll enter the new year having to pay more to fill up?
A gas expert gives some insight.
At the Iwilei Costco, gas is at $2.09. It's a break in a downward trend that bottomed out to just a $1.95 for a gallon of regular unleaded less than three weeks ago. Is hawaii heading towards another spike?
"Anybody who tells you that they know what's going to happen and says it with any degree of certainty is an idiot because nobody really knows," said Bill Green, the former owner of the Shell station in Kahala, now a consultant.
What island drivers do know -
"Prices are lower on the mainland. We just heard that my dad is paying $1.50 for gas," said Hawaii Kai resident Jennifer Scott.
Green says Hawaii prices are almost completely unrelated to the mainland.
"We only have two refineries here, Indonesia and down in that area so those two refineries bring that crude in so they use it all up, they're going to have to charge prices that the high price crude calls form," he said.
The big consumer question is why don't gas prices drop as soon as the price of crude oil dips? Green says the reason is dealers buy in bulk.
"Dealers are forced to sell what they have at the old price before they can lower the price," he said.
While Green says there is no reliable crystal ball to show where the price at the pump will fluctuate next, many island drivers find comfort in knowing they're paying less.
"I'm happy to see the prices come down. It was killing us for a while," said driver Bob Moderow, a Hawaii Kai resident.
According to AAA, on average, the price at the pump in Hawaii is at least a dollar cheaper than a year ago.
Costco prices tend to fall or rise more rapidly than other gas stations because Costco stores buy gas daily at current market prices, while other stations sell gas at prices that are a week old.
So the recent price hike at Costco could possibly mean other gas stations will soon follow suit.