Gas prices to drop, then rise
A reversal after weeks of increases shows signs of being brief
Hawaii's price caps on wholesale gasoline are set to drop 3 cents next week, reversing two straight weeks of increases.
The decline comes as crude oil prices fell last week and earlier this week on forecasts of warmer weather for much of the mainland, driving down demand for heating oil.
But that trend already has reversed itself. Crude-oil prices rose yesterday morning after the U.S. government's weekly petroleum report showed a decline in domestic inventories of distillate fuel, which includes heating oil and diesel.
If crude oil prices continue to climb, Hawaii's prices could also start to inch upward again on the first Monday of 2006.
Caps for next week were set yesterday by the Public Utilities Commission.
If wholesalers charge up to the maximum allowed and dealers add a markup of 12 cents, the price for regular unleaded on Oahu is projected to be about $2.56 a gallon, the cheapest in the state.
The most expensive gas would be on Lanai, projected at $2.93 a gallon.
Charting the price cap in recent months has resembled a roller coaster.
The caps went down 90 cents over an eight-week period starting Oct. 17 before rising 7 cents in each of the past two weeks, following trends in crude oil futures in key mainland markets.
Meanwhile, yesterday's statewide average for regular unleaded was $2.67 a gallon, 46 cents above the national average, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report, which bases its survey on credit card transactions from the previous day.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.