Gas prices to flirt with $3

Gas prices in Waimea dropped to an almost-unthinkable low of $3.02 per gallon at the Union 76, and $3.04 at the Shell Thursday morning, before heading back up into the $3.14-range Friday.

“Gas prices in Waimea are now where everyone else will be starting Monday,” said Martin Rice author of the Rice Report, which appears weekly.

Rice said there could be any numbers of reasons for the Waimea stations dipping down and coming back up, including selling off inventory, or even a local price war.

Either way, gas prices should be closer to $3, perhaps as soon as this afternoon, Monday, Oct. 24, than they have been since the state’s gas cap was implemented Sept. 1.

Drivers can anticipate a 12-cent drop at the pump, according to the maximum pre-tax wholesale gasoline cap price set last Wednesday by members of the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The cap prices are good from today, Monday, Oct. 24, through this Sunday, Oct. 30.

Rice surveys all 20 of Kaua’i’s gas stations each Thursday to establish price trends and best gasoline values at the pump.

Daily gas prices on Kaua’i are now available online at www.kauaiworld.com. Look to the navigation bar on the left side of the home page, and click on “gas prices.” These prices can be viewed on a daily basis, or as Rice posts changes.

Using the Lundberg method of price-averaging for national-comparison purposes, Kaua’i’s across-the-board -gas prices were $3.30 last week, while the national Lundberg average as of Thursday was $2.72.

The Lundberg method is used to compute an average of all combined grades of gasoline, and is the standard for national reporting, according to Rice.

Best prices by grade from Thursday’s survey of all 20 of Kaua’i’s gas stations reflects a general overall uniformity in pricing.

  • Regular:

Excluding the fleetingly cheap prices in Waimea, $3.139 at the Puhi Shell station; $3.149 at the Shell stations in Hanapepe, Kalaheo and Hanama’ulu, and the Kalaheo 76.

  • Premium:

$3.269 at the Waimea 76; $3.289 at the Waimea Shell station.

  • Diesel:

$3.289 at the Kalaheo Chevron station and $3.289 at the 76 stations in Lihu’e and Waimea

“By way of comparison, this week’s Lundgren average price for gas on Kaua’i is $3.30, down 39 cents from last week’s $3.69,” Rice said. “The Main-land Lundgren average was 48 cents lower than here. ‘Big Oil’ companies are still jacking up the prices charged to retailers without justification, thereby continuing to prove that as far as the average consumer goes, ‘Big Oil’ is behaving like bad neighbors,” Rice said.

The state average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline as of Friday, Oct. 21, was $3.28, the highest in the nation, the only place over $3 a gallon, and 89 cents higher than the average price one year ago, according to the AAA (American Automobile Association) Daily Fuel Gauge Report. AAA gets its data from the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS).

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline as of Oct. 21 was $2.69, and 68 cents higher than the same time last year, according to AAA reports.

The weekly cap established by PUC members sets the maximum amount officials at the oil companies can charge for wholesale gasoline.

The baseline price established by members of the state Legislature under the wholesale-price-cap law and used by PUC members is the weekly average of the daily spot prices for whole-sale gas in Los Angeles, the U.S. Gulf Coast, and New York.

That price excludes taxes and dealer profit margins.

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