HONOLULU (KHON2) — If you live on Lanai, getting gas should be a bit easier following complaints of broken pumps, long lines and a $50 cap. On Tuesday, Aug. 2, Young Brothers announced it will sail a dedicated barge to the island’s largest commercial seaport to support the community’s needs.
The news comes after the shipping company reported an incident at Kaumalapau Harbor on July 27 where approximately one quart of hydraulic fluid or diesel fuel was discharged into the harbor. Just a couple of days later, Lanai Service Station asked everyone to conserve gas use for the coming week.
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“They were down to one pump last week, I think,” said Judi Riley, who has lived on Lanai for 10 years.
Riley shared that one pump has been broken for over a year, and a second pump went out late last year. There are only four pumps total for the island to use.
“Ellison bought the gas station around Easter time. He inherited two broken pumps,” said Riley. She added that the last time she purchased gas was Thursday, Aug. 4 — and there was only one working pump and a $50 limit.
Pulama Lanai is a land and resource management business under billionaire Larry Ellison, who purchased Lanai in 2012. The company confirmed with KHON2 that Ellison did purchase Lanai Service Station in early April, and that there were only two working pumps. The company also confirmed there was a $50 limit placed last week as a preventative measure, but they said there should no longer be a cap on fuel since Young Brothers barge docked on Wednesday, Aug. 3.
According to the shipping company, the continuous south swells this summer and gusty trade winds have regularly impeded their ability to safely and consistently dock and discharge their barge on Lanai. Then on July 27, Young Brothers said a surge damaged heavy equipment while discharging cargo from the barge, spilling hydraulic fluid or diesel fuel.
After the incident, Lanai Service Station asked everyone to conserve on gas in order to stretch out their supply on the island in case the barge was unable to land on Wednesday. Luckily, it did.
Riley, however, is still seeing issues with the $50 cap, which Pulama Lanai said should’ve ended by now, and the long lines to get gas. The last time she was at the station was Thursday, Aug. 4.
“We had high hopes that after Ellison purchased it, that we’d have four working pumps and reasonable prices,” said Riley. “It takes more than 30 minutes to get gas presently.”
Pulama Lanai said they are working to replace the broken pumps, which has been a lengthy process since they have to be shipped over. They’re currently “in the process” of taking care of it.
Riley added that the pump doesn’t accept cards, so people have to wait in line behind other customers who are paying for their food. Pulama Lanai could not comment on this.
“There is no designated gas line,” said Riley. “It’s very hard on the cashiers. The issues with the gas station have been ongoing.”
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A silver lining — When Pulama Lanai purchased the gas station this year, fuel prices reduced to under $5. Riley reported it was $4.43 for unleaded gas on Thursday.