Feeling pain at the pump? AAA says there’s no clear timeline when prices could ease

Hawaii gas prices are nearly $1.40 higher than the national average at $5.22 per gallon.
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 7:32 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 19, 2022 at 7:44 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii gas prices are nearly $1.40 higher than the national average at $5.22 per gallon.

That price is better compared to California, where drivers are coughing up an average of nearly $6 per gallon. But, it’s still a lot considering some places on the mainland like Texas, where they are seeing prices closer to $3.30.

AAA’s Doug Shupe explains why drivers in Hawaii are paying so much more.

”Hawaii is a bit different. There are a couple of local refineries that provide product, but then also there are a lot of imports that come from other places like Alaska, Asia, the Caribbean and South America. It takes a longer time to get those imports to the Hawaiian Islands,” said Shupe.

Hawaii has always paid more than the national average because things simply cost more here. But, ever since Russia invaded Ukraine back in February, the global economic instability has caused oil prices to soar. Add to that, there’s inflation.

Regardless of the reason, most drivers in Hawaii are feeling it in a major way.

But is it enough to make them change habits like switching to electric or alternative ways of getting around?

”Oh, definitely. Yeah, that (electric) is actually one of our ultimate goals — that’s the route we want to go. So we’re getting close to the lease term with this one and that’s definitely our next option is gonna be an electric vehicle,” said Jesse Madore who lives and commutes from Salt Lake.

Other drivers say they would be hesitant to make the switch.

”Possibly but at this point is still expensive, more expensive than a regular vehicle. At the end of the day, we can’t run an economy off of electric, you have to have fuel,” said another driver.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced the release of 15 million more barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve with plans to release more this winter.

It’s hard to say if that will drive prices down significantly.

”The reality is nobody knows and there’s so many factors that go into determining gas prices,” Shupe added.

“Say, for example, unplanned refinery maintenance, that shuts down something that causes prices to spike in one particular region, it’s very difficult to forecast where prices are going to be in a week or a month from now.”