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Gas prices see double-digit drop in a week

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:49 p.m. HST, Nov 1, 2012

Retail gas prices dropped an average of 10 cents statewide since last week to $4.31 per gallon, which also was a dime less than last month. But prices are still about 14 cents higher than last year at this time, according to AAA Hawaii’s Weekend Gas Watch.

Honolulu’s average price dropped to $4.23 a gallon for regular unleaded – nine cents less than last week, 12 cents less than last month and 18 cents higher than a year ago. In Hilo, the average gas price is $4.36 a gallon, down 10 cents from last week, a nickel less than last month and four cents more than this time last year.  Wailuku’s average is $4.47 a gallon, eight cents less than last week, three cents less than last month and four cents higher than last year.

“Price relief has come to the Aloha state,” said AAA Hawaii regional manager Diane Peterson in a news release. “The states with $4 a gallon gas also experienced price declines: the state average in Hawaii dropped by a dime, the state average declined by 24 cents in California to $4.07 and the state average dipped by a nickel in Alaska to $4.20.”

 The gas price reflects declines in oil prices, which had been over $100 a barrel.

Oil prices have begun to rise nationally in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Benchmark oil gained 85 cents today to finish at $87.09 per barrel in New York.

Power outages are hampering refineries, storage tanks and supply terminals as they work to restore operations, largely in New York and New Jersey. Imports of oil are also limited, adding to supply problems.

Some positive U.S. economic news is also boosting oil. Reports for October showed manufacturing expanded for the second straight month, private businesses added more jobs and consumer confidence was at the highest level in nearly five years. And the government says crude inventories shrank last week.

A healthier economy can increase demand for energy products as more consumers commute to work and manufacturing facilities buy more diesel to power operations.

At the pump, the national average for a gallon of gas fell about a penny overnight to $3.507, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. That’s 27 cents less than it was a month ago, although about 7 cents more than a year ago.

The national average price of gas has dropped for 21 consecutive days, the longest continual streak since the middle of June. But gas remains at a record high for this time of year, according to AAA.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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