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$6 for a gallon of gas: Lanai, Molokai feel the pinch of rising prices more than most

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 7:44 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2021 at 10:43 AM HST
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LANAI CITY (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Consumer Price Index is up 6% across the country from a year ago.

That’s driving up the bills for food and gas almost everywhere, but especially on Lanai and Molokai.

Hawaii’s average gas price is $4.34 a gallon. That’s about a 15-cent hike since last month and more than a dollar compared to last year’s average, according to American Automobile Association.

But AAA doesn’t factor in Molokai or Lanai’s rates where it’s $5.29 a gallon on the Friendly Isle and $6.09 on the Pineapple Island.

“They don’t have choices on that island, because there is only one gas station,” said Dara Hubin.

Hubin lives on Oahu, but her family lives on Lanai. She says astronomical gas prices are just one of the challenges of living on a small island with limited resources. She said they often rely on cargo planes to fly in food and medicine when it’s too expensive at the stores.

“My mom, my parents depend on Kamaka Air to assist with transporting their necessities,” Hubin said. “She flies over here every other week for medical treatments.”

Lanai resident Mary Lou Kaukeano and her family also relies on the air cargo company for essential items.

“We don’t have Hawaiian Airlines Ohana anymore. So, you used to be able to put things on Ohana, so you don’t have that,” said Kaukeano. “So Kamaka Air really comes in now.”

Kaukeano and Hubin said Kamaka Air is a lifeline for many residents who live on Molokai and Lanai.

“We are not exempt from the price of fuel either,” said Kamaka Air President Jim Petrides. “But typically, what we try to do is we absorb those short-term prices, try to keep our pricing consistent for people there.”

While Kamaka Air hasn’t raised their rates, other companies like Young Brothers have.

Senator Lynn DeCoite represents Molokai and Lanai. She said the state is looking at options to help offset the rising costs for residents.

“Hawaiian Electric is now putting in, they want to provide EV stations across the state. These are things that we as constituents would have to try and support so that we can have these EV stations which would allow us then to venture more into buying an electric vehicle and get away from the rising cost of gas,” DeCoite said.

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