LIHUE — Savannah Kupihea has been a resident of Kauai her entire life, and although she is use to the island’s costly gas, she’s glad to see prices falling.
“They’re kind of ridiculously high,” Kupihea said. “But these past couple of months they’ve been dropping down, which is kind of good.”
But compared to the rest of the country, they aren’t falling far.
Gas prices have plummeted across the nation, according to the American Automobile Association’s fuel gauge report, with the national average at $2.16 for a gallon of unleaded gas as of Friday. Gas was reported as low as $1.79 a gallon in North Idaho. As for the islands, the Hawaii AAA stated that as of Thursday, statewide gas prices are on average below $3.50 a gallon for the first time in four years.
“I think it’s a plus for everybody,” Kuiphea said. “Every time it goes down everybody gets a little bit more money in their pocket to feed their family or have some side cash.”
The Hawaii AAA also stated the current average for Hawaii’s regular unleaded gas prices was $3.46 a gallon, the lowest since October 2010.
By week’s end, state prices were 4 cents lower than on New Year’s Day and 51 cents lower than a year ago. In Honolulu, the average gas price was $3.33 per gallon, while the price per gallon in Hilo was $3.41.
Kauai’s gas prices, the nation’s highest, have decreased — a little.
They were running $3.79 a gallon at the Shell gas station and $3.79 a gallon at the 76 station in Lihue. Prices in Kilauea were $3.88 per gallon. Gas in Waimea was going for $3.78 a gallon. Costco, which requires a membership, is well below other gas stations, at around $3 a gallon, nearly a buck a gallon cheaper than others selling gas on Kauai.
“It’s a lot better than the outer islands like Maui,” said Kauai resident Alika Yon. “I think Kauai’s cheaper. It’s made me a lot more conservative, otherwise, I’d be doing a lot more traveling. I feel like we’re being played with though. I feel like they should have gone down a long time ago.”
The highest-priced gas in the Mainland was found in San Francisco, at $2.66 a gallon. The lowest was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at $1.76 a gallon.
California’s lowest average was in Sacramento, at $2.42 a gallon, while the average price for midgrade gas in the U.S. is $2.44. For premium it’s $2.61, according to an Associated Press report.
Despite the lower prices at the pumps, the AAA indicated Hawaii still leads the nation in the highest gas prices.
“Gas prices are higher in Hawaii due to its geographic location, and cost of transportation,” said Hawaii’s AAA spokeswoman Elaine Beno.
According to Shahriar Fesharaki of Facts Global Energy, a surge in U.S oil production is the result of fracking and horizontal drilling.
Although the U.S knew there were oil supplies in its territory, they were impossible to get to until technological breakthroughs.
However, Hawaii doesn’t take crude oil from the Mainland, as it doesn’t fit the state’s refinery configurations. Heavier crude oil is needed to be burned for power generation.
While residents like Yon and Kupihea are enjoying the current gas prices, they don’t expect them to stay low forever.
“I believe that good things won’t last too long, that eventually it will stop and kind of shoot back up so, just gotta sit and wait to see how long it stays this low before it goes back up,” Kupihea said.
Averie Soto, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.