Fuel expected to be expensive this year

LIHUE — It’s going to be an expensive year for gas.

“Overall, for 2017, gas is projected to be expensive, compared to previous years,” said Marie Montgomery, spokesman for AAA Hawaii.

On Monday, the average per gallon for unleaded regular gas in Hawaii was $3.07. The national average for a gallon of unleaded regular gas is $2.31, the report said.

“Hawaii is the only state with an average of over $3 per gallon. But there will certainly be more states joining us this year,” Montgomery said.

In Lihue, the 76 station on Kuhio Highway was charging $3.33 for a gallon of regular. Chevron was charging $3.34 for regular.

Sam Smith, of Lihue, was pumping gas at Chevron Monday afternoon.

High gas prices don’t faze her, she said.

“I’ve gotten used to it,” she said. “You need gas to get anywhere.”

Across the street, regular gas at Shell was $3.34 a gallon.

On Monday, gas at Costco was $2.79 for regular unleaded. While Costco gas is cheaper, Smith said she doesn’t like going there because of the crowds.

“I don’t like being in the long lines,” she said.

Instead, Smith opts to go to Chevron.

“I come here every time I need gas,” she said.

A continued demand for gas coupled with an increased cost in petroleum is the main reason for the spike in gas prices, Montgomery said.

“OPEC increased its prices, and that’s the main ingredient in gas,” she said.

On Monday, Brent crude oil, an ingredient in gas that is shipped to Hawaii, came in at $55 per barrel, a 0.1 percent increase from last year, Montgomery said.

“The highest price Brent crude oil reached in the past year is $58 a barrel, so it’s nearly the highest it has been in the last year,” she said.

Gas prices are already up from December. Last month in Hawaii, the average price for regular gas was $2.90, according the fuel gauge report.

Additionally, regular, mid-grade and premium gas in Hawaii saw an almost 50-cent increase from last year.

The highest statewide gas price average was in 2012, when gas came in at $4.61. And while 2017 is trending toward a costly gas year, Montgomery does not expect it to break that record.

“Unless something major happens, it’s not likely going to be that bad,” she said.

Smith isn’t letting the spike in gas price keep her from having fun.

“There’s no reason to stop getting gas,” she said. “It’ll eventually go down.”


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