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Off the News

For Thursday, December 20, 2012


Happy holidays and fill 'er up!

It's not a huge gift, but like most presents, it's the thought that counts.

So when headlines say that gasoline prices are on track to set a new yearly low as 2012 winds down, we'll take it. The national average was $3.22 for a gallon of regular unleaded Wednesday; in Hawaii, it was $3.94. Experts attribute the lowering trend to domestic supplies being replenished after a year of refinery and pipeline problems combined with high oil prices overseas.

For Hawaii drivers, seeing posted prices in the $3.80 range at non-membership sites — or even better, at $3.75 at the big-box sites — has been welcome, indeed. Not quite as exciting as the $2.29-per-gallon low that Las Cruces, N.M., drivers are seeing — but, hey, reality check: That's Las Cruces. This is Hawaii.

Obama's Christmas plans could go over the cliff

As the D.C. din over the "fiscal cliff" swells to a crescendo, Kailua waits to see if it will suffer any financial ripple effects of its own.

That is: If President Barack Obama gets stuck in 11th-hour talks over a budget deal, he won't fly out as scheduled by the end of the week for his annual Christmas family vacation here.

Year-end negotiations have delayed the vacation for some days over the past few Christmases, but it's never been scotched altogether. Could it be that Kailua holidays will be Obama-free? Will Kailua miss out on those extra shave-ice sales to the entourage? Will Hawaii miss out on free media marketing of the sunny Aloha State to freezing mainlanders?

Maybe it won't matter so much. The first lady and the girls are surely coming and, judging by the polls, they're the most popular of the clan anyway.

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