LIHUE — The price of fuel is slowly climbing, and island residents are feeling the pinch at the pump.
Hawaii gas prices increased for the fifth straight week in most areas, according to the AAA Hawaii Weekend Gas Watch. The statewide average price is $3.61 a gallon, 11 cents higher than a month ago and 54 cents more than a year ago, according to GasPrices.AAA.com.
Lihue’s Rina Barretto has noticed the increase in gasoline prices, since it now costs her roughly $70 to fill up her 2006 Toyota truck with high octane fuel each week. She drives to work at the hospital during the day and then commutes to the South Shore for her night job.
“I don’t put regular, got to put the premium in,” Barretto said. “You got to treat your car good to make it last.”
She doesn’t consider walking or biking as an option because of the long distance, traffic and other factors. But she’s compensating by saving money in other areas.
“If you don’t need it, don’t buy it,” Barretto said, “especially unnecessary things like clothes and going out.”
Lihue’s average price for regular is $3.76, 15 cents higher than last month and 39 cents more than a year ago. In Honolulu, the average price for regular is $3.48. The Hilo average price is $3.65.
“Across the Mainland, and even in Hawaii to a degree, motorists have been gotten used to depressed gas prices during the past few years,” said Liane Sumida, AAA Hawaii general manager.
“Prices are expected to increase through the Memorial Day holiday and then will likely stabilize during summer, with the understanding that if demand spikes, higher prices will likely follow.”
According to AAA Hawaii records, the highest price for gas in Lihue for the month of May was $4.98 a gallon in 2011.