Hawaii gas prices headed up after 8-week slide
A 7-cent-higher cap could lift next week's isle average to $2.69
For the first time since mid-October, the state's price cap on wholesale gasoline is going up.
Caps for next week, published yesterday by the state Public Utilities Commission, are 7 cents higher than current price ceilings.
Hawaii's caps are tied to an average of spot wholesale prices on the mainland, where prices have spiked recently with the onset of wintry weather in the northeastern United States.
Next week, if wholesalers charge up to the maximum allowed, the price for regular unleaded on Oahu is projected to be about $2.52 a gallon, which would be the cheapest in the islands.
The highest price for regular would be about $2.89 a gallon on Lanai, while the statewide average could go to about $2.69.
Estimates include taxes and an assumed dealer markup of 12 cents, although such charges vary and are not governed by the price cap, leading to a variety of prices among gas stations.
Today's statewide average for regular was $2.63 a gallon, 49 cents higher than the national average, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report. The auto club bases its survey on credit-card transactions from the previous day at more than 85,000 self-service stations nationwide, including 222 in Hawaii.
Hawaii's caps are based on an average of spot wholesale prices in the Gulf of Mexico, New York and Los Angeles, where prices track closely to crude oil.
Crude oil futures have increased this week amid worries that colder weather in the northeastern United States, the world's largest energy market, could boost demand for heating fuels.
The increase in the cap reverses an eight-week trend of the price ceilings being set lower in successive weeks. Since Oct. 17 the maximum price at which gas can be sold in Hawaii has gone down 90 cents.