Editorials for Saturday — August 30, 2003

• Gas prices

• Hurricane Jimena

Gas prices

The price of gas is rising faster than any other consumer item on Kaua‘i. Record high prices are being posted this week across the Island. Something similar is happening on the Mainland, though prices are quite a bit lower, even in California.

The problem on Kaua‘i is a side-effect of our global economy.

A good percentage of the gasoline burned in our vehicles is refined in Honolulu from oil brought by tanker from the oil fields of faraway Indonesia.

It’s not the Bali or Jakarta bombings that are driving the prices up, but an environmental emergency in equally faraway Japan.

In Japan a number of nuclear plants were shut down due to safety reasons, causing the demand for fossil fuels to make up for the energy deficit.

In the global world of supply and demand oil is perhaps the biggest commodity, and, price-wise, the most fluid.

The high demand in Japan drove up the crude oil price in Indonesia, meaning oil bound for Hawai‘i had a higher price tag.

The bombings in Bali also are probably reflected in the record high number of Mainland visitors to Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i in general. Where the exotic, equatorial Indonesian island of Bali was a big draw for Hawai‘i and California visitors, since the Bali bombing safe and secure Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i are looking better and better for visitors with the means to afford an island trip.

Hurricane Jimena

Hopefully the name Hurricane Jimena will be a name that’s here today and gone next week in Hawai‘i.

A tropical storm just hours ago, Jimena is now a hurricane and on track to move beneath the Ka‘u on the Big Island, set to bring high waves to south-facing shores, but not much more, according to hurricane forecasters.

The chance is slim that Jimena might follow the path of Hurricane ‘Iniki and move past the the Big Island, Maui and O‘ahu on up to Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau.

Even so, this weather event is a good time to check your hurricane recovery kit at home and at places of business.

Do you know where to go for shelter if a hurricane should strike?

Do you have alternative sources of light, bottled water, canned food and other emergency items safely stowed away?

There has been great strides made in disaster preparedness by the local Civil Defense, which is now in a new home, away from the agency’s cramped quarters in the basement of the old County Building.

Thanks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the entire state is better prepared than ever for a hurricane, tsunami or other major disaster that might strike.

New comers are advised to read twice Associate Editor Paul Curtis’ report on hurricane preparedness for newcomers.


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