Gas caps expected to drop by 2 cents
The state's lowest price is projected to be on Oahu, at $2.54 a gallon
Price caps on wholesale gasoline are set to drop 2 cents next week.
New price caps, which take effect Monday and represent the maximum at which gasoline can be sold at wholesale in Hawaii, were set yesterday by the state Public Utilities Commission.
The 2-cent drop comes after prices were set 3 cents lower this week.
If wholesalers charge up to the maximum allowed and dealers add a markup of 12 cents, regular unleaded on Oahu is projected to cost about $2.54 a gallon, the cheapest in the state.
The most expensive gas is forecast for Lanai at $2.90 a gallon, while the statewide average is projected to go to about $2.70 a gallon.
Yesterday's statewide average of $2.71 a gallon for regular unleaded was 53 cents higher than the national average, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report, which is based on credit card transactions from the previous day.
Hawaii's caps are published on Wednesdays by the Public Utilities Commission and based on an average of spot wholesale prices in the Gulf Coast, New York and Los Angeles.
Those prices track closely to the price of crude oil, which has declined recently on forecasts of warmer weather for much of the mainland. The warm weather has lessened demand for heating oil, leading to lower crude prices.
But crude oil prices rose sharply yesterday after Iran's oil minister said OPEC should consider cutting production next month.
Light sweet crude for February delivery briefly climbed more than $2 before settling $1.66 higher at $59.82 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price is about 16 percent below its Aug. 30 high of $70.85. Oil prices remained above $60 a barrel for months after Hurricane Katrina disrupted Gulf of Mexico oil and gas output and dipped below $60 recently amid mild winter weather in the United States.
"The market's been down a bit lately because of the (warmer) weather," said broker Tom Bentz, of BNP Paribas Commodity Futures in New York. "So I thought we were going to see a bounce, but this was much more than I expected to see today."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.