Sharp rise in gas prices hitting residents hard

By Jill Kuramoto
Published On: Feb 03 2013 02:23:00 PM HST

Prices at the pump have jumped 7 cents in just one week, and 17 cents from a month ago.

HONOLULU -

Have you been paying attention to the price of gas?  If you haven't, it's likely your wallet has.

Prices at the pump have jumped seven cents in just one week, 17 cents from a month ago.  And local economists say prices are only expected to rise.
 
"I was really excited when they were going down. Now I'm not so excited anymore," said Gaston Gosselin, who was filling up his car at the Chevron station on School St.
 
"I keep hoping that four will be at least a three," said Betsy McCreary.
 
The sharp rise in gas prices is hitting us hard -- and early, according to analysts.
 
"Why were (prices) going down and why are they all going back up again?" wondered Gosselin.
 
Much of the spike is being blamed on the unrest in the Middle East along with increasing global demand, pushing up oil prices higher than this time a year ago.

The price of gas usually rises in the spring because people do more driving and economists said at this point we should expect nothing different.
 
"(Gas prices) could get back to what they were last spring and summer, peaking at just under $4.50 a gallon," said Lawrence Boyd, Associate Specialist for the Center for Labor, Education and Research at UH West Oahu.
 
"My reaction is drive as little as possible in this car," said McCreary.
      
And that's one effect higher gas prices will likely have on our economy.  But economist Lawrence Boyd said higher oil prices here in Hawaii have a bigger impact due to our dependence on oil to generate electricity.
 
"You see an almost immediate impact of higher oil prices on your monthly electric bill," said Boyd.  "On the whole, it's not a good thing. What it means is that people are channeling more money into one thing that's basically a necessity and less money into other things."
 
But in Hawaii where we're used to paying premium prices for just about everything, we can only hope gas prices are lower than last year's average and learn to adapt.
 
"Well, I have my bicycle underneath the house. I think that might come back out," said Gosselin.

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