Gas price outlook bleak for 2018

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald A driver fuels up his vehicle Friday at the Shell gas station in downtown Hilo.

Gasoline prices in Hilo are up nearly 50 cents compared to last year and experts predict they will rise even more.

A gallon of regular unleaded fuel averaged $3.50 in Hilo on Friday, up from $3.08 a year ago and $3.37 a month ago, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.


The statewide average was $3.48 on Friday, up from $3.11 a year ago and $3.35 a month ago. Prices in Kailua-Kona ranged between $3.67 and $3.71 on Friday, according to the gas price tracking site GasBuddy. The AAA Fuel Gauge Report doesn’t track Kailua-Kona prices.

“Oil prices have remained relatively high,” Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, said Thursday. “Overall, they have remained relatively elevated compared to where they were a year ago, so Hawaii and almost every state is seeing prices quite a bit higher.

“There may be over the next few weeks a continuation of the upward trend as refineries get underway in terms of maintenance.”

Those high prices are predicted to stick around through 2018, DeHaan said, because crude oil inventories are continuing to drop. He said prices locally will be “25 to 50 cents higher per day over last year.”

“It’s not looking great,” DeHaan said of the 2018 gas price outlook. “(Thursday’s) report from the energy administration showed another decline in crude oil inventories from the mainland, so OPEC’s tightening — which has been in place since 2017 — has taken a lot of supply off the market. And that will cause a pinch at the pump for motorists.”


Nationally, a gallon of regular unleaded fuel averaged $2.52 on Friday, compared to $2.29 a year ago and $2.54 a month ago.

Email Kirsten Johnson at kjohnson@hawaiitribune-herald.com.