Honolulu sees first signs of lower gas prices
By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Will Hoover
O'ahu's drivers will see lower gas prices starting today from at least one Island dealer.
The law says as of tomorrow, gasoline retailers no longer need to collect the general excise tax on retail gas sales. Dealers had pledged to pass the savings along to customers.
But Aloha Petroleum jumped the gun by bringing down its pump prices a day ahead of time. The company said it expects to have dropped the per-gallon price at all 80 of its stations by 10 a.m. today.
"We are beginning to reduce the price of our gasoline now, ahead of the rollback of the excise tax on gasoline set to take effect on Sunday because it's Aloha Petroleum's marketing philosophy always to lead the market when it comes to lower prices," Bob Maynard, president and CEO of Aloha, said yesterday.
"That is what our customers have come to expect, and we don't want to disappoint them."
Aloha stations will cut regular gas by 12 cents a gallon and unleaded-plus and premium by 13 cents.
The company said its move fulfills a promise Aloha Petroleum made last spring, when key state legislators expressed doubt that oil companies would pass the excise-tax savings along to their customers.
Whether other branded dealerships would follow suit today was unclear.
Chevron spokesman Albert Chee said that of the 63 Chevron stations in the state, the company only operates seven directly. The remaining Chevron dealers are operated independently and the price is set at the station.
Chee could not say whether Chevron would lower prices before tomorrow. But he said the stations operated by the company will be in full compliance with the law by tomorrow and the company has informed independent Chevron dealers to do likewise.
Chee said he thinks the law is a step in the right direction.
"I think it is significant that our Legislature has finally taken that step to remove some of those high taxes," he said. "I would like to think ... our legislators will work on things that are within their control, as opposed to experiments like gas caps, which we've seen in the past."
Reach Will Hoover at email@example.com.