(HONOLULU) KHON2 — The average gas price in Hawaii is sitting relatively stagnant Wednesday at $5.09 a gallon for unleaded, down a few cents from Tuesday’s price.
High prices aren’t just hurting your business, they’re also impacting some of Hawaii’s gas stations.
Alan Nakamura has been running Kaimuki Auto Repair on Waialae for 50 years. It’s an old-school operation that is independent — one of few Hawaii gas stations that don’t rely on a connection to a big brand.
“Because I’m an independent not affiliated with any oil company I try to keep it lower for the community but sometimes in the up and down swing it’s hard to judge what I’m going to be today, or what I’m going to be tomorrow,” Nakamura says of the current prices.
Gas has skyrocketed in recent weeks and is now up 29% over the same day in 2021.
“It’s like the stock market goes up and down so who knows what’s gonna happen next day or next week. It’s been a little difficult, probably the toughest times in a long time,” Nakamura said.
He is now stuck having to purchase gas at times when prices spike, which hampers his smaller operation that doesn’t distribute gas as fast as big box stores. He is left selling expensive gas for a longer time but tries to remain competitive.
“At one point a few weeks ago the credit card company was making more profit than I because they take 2% of the retail sale, that’s 10 cents. If my margin is 10 cents, my profit is zero.” Nakamura said.
Many big box stores like Costco and Sam’s Club have some of the cheapest gas prices across the nation. A reason that AAA says they are able to keep prices lower is memberships.
“Some of the big box stores out there right now do have some of the cheapest gas prices, being part of that membership of that big box store,” AAA Hawaii spokesperson Doug Shupe said. “You’re going to have the advantage of those savings, but keep in mind a lot of people know about that so you may encounter some very long lines at those gas stations.”
Nakamura said he’s probably losing customers to big box stores but says he understands why local folks need to save.
“I’m sure the ones who are looking for prices only are probably looking to those places because the disparity is so much sometimes,” Nakamura said.
Shopping around is one way to save on gas, but there are plenty of other ways that can help.
“Make sure your tires are properly inflated, you’ve replaced worn spark plugs, replaced dirty air filters because that can impact your fuel economy. Lighten the load of the vehicle don’t drive around on your daily trips with surfboards in the car heavy items. The heavier the vehicle is, the more you’re paying to drive around,” Shupe said.
Another easy way to save can also make your life safer.
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“Adjust your driving habits. Avoid those Jackrabbit starts when the light turns green and don’t speed,” Shupe said. “Most vehicles will peak out at fuel economy about 50 miles per hour then it starts to go down after that. So reducing freeway speeds by you know, five to 10 miles per hour can increase your fuel economy by up to 14%.”