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Oahu gas under $3 a gallon but isles still pay most in U.S.

  • GEORGE F. LEE / OCT. 16
    Hawaii has the highest average price of $3.75 a gallon. In this October file photo, the Tesoro gas station on Kapahulu Avenue and Williams Street advertised regular gasoline at $3.77 per gallon.
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Gas prices dipped below $3 a gallon in some parts of Oahu for the first time in seven years. But the state still has the highest gas prices in the nation, followed by Alaska and New York.

Hawaii News Now reported it found the lowest-priced gas at Costco in Iwilei Friday, at $2.99 a gallon.

"I’d like to see them going down to two bucks," said Jean Mooney of Makiki, as she stopped at a Nuuanu service station.

But Hawaii’s prices are still high compared with gas prices on the mainland.

Hawaii has the highest average price of $3.75 a gallon. Alaska and New York are the only other states where the average price tops $3 a gallon.

"It is a volume business and Hawaii has a relatively low volume with a high cost of doing business," said Barney Robinson, who owns Chevron stations in Nuuanu and Waialae. "Our land costs, our business costs, our rent costs, our utility, everything is high, but we have a relatively lower volume to spread those costs out over."

Robinson said about 400 million gallons of gas is sold in Hawaii each year, a tiny amount compared with the 1 billion gallons of gas sold in California in just one month.

Some of the lowest gas prices in the country are in Oklahoma City, where people are already paying less than $2 per gallon. Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas had the lowest average gas prices last week, averaging between $2.32 and $2.38 a gallon. The national average is $2.60.

Prices haven’t come down as quickly in Hawaii as the mainland because it takes longer for oil to get to the islands by ship, Robinson said. Hawaii is still burning through older, more expensive crude.

Hawaii motorists also pay among the highest gas taxes in the country, shelling out about 70 cents a gallon in taxes, Robinson said.

"Right now we’re at about $3.50 or $3.60 a gallon right now, so 70 cents, you’re looking at about 25 percent of it is for taxes," Robinson said.

At other gas stations, it’s less than $3.50 for the first time in years, such as $3.49 at a Kalihi Tesoro station.

"I think it’s great because I can actually put more money into my gas," said Ashley Kamalani-Andaya of Waima­nalo, who was filling up her car at a gas station Friday afternoon. "And it’s a lot more convenient, especially around the holiday season."

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