Drivers ease up as their costs rise
Hawai'i motorists are cutting back on their driving as gasoline prices rise, according to a new report from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
Hawai'i drivers burned 100 million gallons of gasoline through the first three months of this year, down 10 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to the Monthly Energy Trend Data released by DBEDT yesterday.
Although gasoline prices have fallen about 6 cents a gallon over the past month they are still significantly higher than they were a year ago.
AAA Hawaii said the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Hawai'i was $3.51 this week, up 65 cents from $2.86 a year ago. The average price nationally was $2.73, up 16 cents from $2.57 a year ago.
Gasoline consumption on Maui posted the biggest decline, falling 16.7 percent from January through March compared with the same five months in 2008. Gas consumption on the Big Island fell 7.8 percent, while it rose on Kaua'i by 8.2 percent.
The report also showed that foreign crude oil imports to Hawai'i rose to 11 million barrels during the first three months of this year, up 0.6 percent from the same period in 2009.
Car ownership is also down. There were 916,113 registered gasoline-powered cars and trucks in the state as of May, down 1.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the report. Registrations of electric vehicles, meanwhile, fell to 170 in May, a 7.1 percent decline from a year earlier.
The drop in gasoline use could mean more people are staying home, where they use more electricity. The DBEDT report said the amount of electricity sold by utilities statewide rose 1.8 percent for the first three months of 2010 from the same period a year ago.