PRINCEVILLE — While the rest of the country was bemoaning the distant possibility of $5 a gallon gasoline, drivers on the North Shore of Kaua‘i on Sunday were paying $5.05 a gallon for regular at the local Chevron station.
“It’s the big topic of conversation up here,” said Mickey Miller of Wainiha, who added he wrote a song about $5 gas in 1978. “And now we’re there.”
Specifically, the gas was $5.05.9 for a gallon of regular. The price for a gallon of premium? $5.25.9.
Miller and Lori Miller said they drive an older van that gets eight miles to the gallon. “We’ve been taking the bus, and it’s great,” Lori said.
Micayla Lettich, the cheerful attendant inside the Chevron station Sunday afternoon, made a telephone call to the station’s owners to verify the price was set by the Chevron distributor, not the local station.
“Most people say it’s ridiculous,” she said with a shrug. “You’re on an island in the middle of the Pacific, and this is what happens.”
“Ridiculous” was the word used by a woman at the pump who asked not to be identified, but who pointed out that such high gas prices mean that people are restricted in their jobs because they have to work near their homes.
Jeremy Dexter-Smith, who drives an older pickup, lives in Princeville and works in Hanalei. He said he doesn’t drive much except between his home and his job.
A visitor from Vancouver, B.C., Brian Mcmillan, said, “I was going to fill up, but I bought just enough to get back to the South Shore.”
Another visitor, Don Rosenberger, blamed the environmental movement for the nation’s high gas prices. “I believe in some environmental regulation, but I believe it’s gone too far,” he said. “I think these environmentalists ought to pay double.”
Local resident Elaine Turner said she had thought about driving to the station in Kilauea, where gas prices generally are a bit lower than in Princeville.
But then she decided it wasn’t worth it.
“I certainly hope the prices go down, but I doubt it,” Turner said.
Elsewhere on the island, only diesel fuel was $5 a gallon in Lihu‘e, located on the island’s Eastside and home to the Lihu‘e Airport.
A gallon of regular gasoline was advertised at $4.79.9 in Lihu‘e on Sunday, a relative bargain by Princeville’s new $5.05.9 benchmark.
By comparison, The Associated Press on Sunday cited a survey — which did not include Kaua‘i — that showed Chicago was reporting the nation’s highest average price for gas at $4.58.