More pain at the pump

Gas prices are expected to rise 14 cents tomorrow, though some Kaua’i stations will wait until Wednesday to change their prices.

“We always change on Wednesday,” said Peggy Basuel at the Kuhio Highway Chevron in Lihu’e. Regular unleaded currently costs $3.14 per gallon at the Chevron.

Basuel said she has seen a marked increase in the number of people filling up before the prices soar toward or over $3.30 per gallon.

“There’s a lot of people saying they better fill up now,” she said. “Especially the big cars.”

Basuel said she expects the crunch to pick up on Monday and Tuesday, after other stations have raised their prices.

The Shell station across the street only changes its prices when Chevron does, but Carol Manoi doesn’t expect much to change as a result of this most recent price spike.

“Everybody needs gas anyway,” she said. “Maybe they grumble a little, but they’re still going to get the gas.”

Some Kaua’ians, however, are getting while the getting is good.

“It’s why I filled up,” Kileuea resident Erika Kuwabara said of the price hike. Kuwabara commutes to work at Wilcox Hospital in Lihu’e, and fills up at least once a week.

“That’s why I bought a small car,” she said.

Fellow North Shore commuter Michelle Swartman was not so much surprised at the increase as the increment.

“I just couldn’t believe the jump was so big,” she said while filling up her full-size pickup truck at the Phillips 76 station in Lihu’e.

Hawai’i gas prices are based on the average of the five-day wholesale prices of regular unleaded in three markets: New York Harbor, the Gulf Coast and Los Angeles. For the five days of March 29 to March 31 and April 3 to April 4, the baseline price average was $2.0309 per gallon, an increase of 13.8 cents. The wholesale price cap includes the baseline plus various adjustments based on location, zone price and marketing margin (see tables).

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