Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about the new Gas Cap Law.
Q: What is the Gas Cap Law how does it work?
A: The Gas Cap Law is a legal limit on wholesale gasoline prices, or the maximum amount that may be charged for producing gasoline and delivering it to a service station. Under the new law, the gas cap is set weekly by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) based on average spot prices for regular unleaded gasoline in three U.S. markets, New York Harbor, the Gulf Coast, and Los Angeles.
Q: Where can I find and view the weekly gas cap set by the PUC?
A: The weekly gas caps are posted every Wednesday (or Tuesday if Wednesday is a holiday) for regular, mid-grade and premium gasoline, effective for the following Monday through Sunday, at the PUC's Gasoline Price Caps Page on their web site.
Q: Does the gas cap guarantee lower prices at the pump?
A: No. the gas cap does not guarantee lower prices at the pump, only that Hawaii wholesale prices will be tied to average wholesale prices in three U.S. markets. Gas stations are allowed to charge customers a total retail price for gasoline that covers the wholesale cap plus their existing retail margin, which typically has been about 12 cents/gallon above wholesale prices.
Q: Why haven’t prices fallen since the gas cap went into effect?
A: At this time, mainland prices are at historically high levels, and because the Hawaii cap is tied to three mainland markets the gas cap here may also be unusually high. If mainland prices fall, then gas cap prices here should also fall, leading to lower wholesale gas prices in Hawaii.
Q: Prices on the neighbor islands, especially in remote areas, seem to be higher than on Oahu. Does the law apply to all islands eaqually throughout Hawaii?
A: Not exactly. The gas cap has a baseline price that is the same throughout Hawaii, but the total wholesale price varies depending on which of seven zones you live in, reflecting the differing costs of delivery to various locations throughout the state. The zones are as follows: (Zone 1) Oahu, (Zone 2) Kauai, (Zone 3) Maui, (Zone 4) Hana, (Zone 5) Molokai, (Zone 6) Lanai, (Zone 7) Hilo, and (Zone 8) Kona.
Q: How much do I pay in taxes per gallon at the pump?
A: Federal and state taxes are the same throughout the state, but each county assesses a different tax. The following chart shows what these taxes are and the total price per gallon of gasoline.
* A $.05 tax Increase went inot effect on July 1, 2003 for Maui County