We are less than three weeks from the complete elimination of Hawaii Safe Travels and all Covid-related protocols for Hawaii travel. Having said that, we have been getting news over the last 24 hours of something else that is going to be expensive for Hawaii visitors and Hawaii residents alike.
It started when we saw the headline on MarketWatch, “Par Pacific to suspend Russian oil purchases for its Hawaii refinery.” Until then, we hadn’t given much thought to where our oil and gas in Hawaii came from. Naively, perhaps, we thought it was from the same sources as other states. Well now we’ve learned that isn’t the case at all, and it is troubling, to say the least.
Higher gasoline and all fuel-related costs in Hawaii impact just about everything.
The US Energy Information Administration says that “isolated by the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is the most petroleum-dependent U.S. state.” We generated 60% of our electricity from petroleum products in 2020.
While the mainland consumes just 1% of US refinery processed oil from Russia, Hawaii uses from 10%-25% Russian crude oil. To reduce fuel costs, Hawaii refineries have imported fuel directly from other countries such as Russia. This is because The Jones Act of 1920 requires that cargo, or in this case fuel, sent to Hawaii from the mainland must travel on US-built and staffed ships. That’s very expensive to do.
We also just learned that the only remaining coal-powered electric plant, located in West Oahu, is due to close permanently in a few months while its renewable replacement is still in the works and has been delayed.
Impact on Hawaii tourism.
You may not give that much thought to this, as has been true for us. But fuel costs impact Hawaii vacations in innumerable ways. With the cost of fuel rising quickly, you can expect to see across the board increases in costs.
Hotels are major power consumers and they too will experience the direct impact of higher energy costs. Moreover, the cost of air freight, widely used in Hawaii, will impact all costs here in the islands. And fuel costs will also impact ocean shipping, with Hawaii dependent on nearly everything residents and visitors consume.
Hawaii airline ticket prices to rise with sky-high jet cost fuel.
As new jet fuel prices are being reached daily, there is huge cost pressure on the airlines that fly to Hawaii. The vast distance between the US mainland and Hawaii means that fuel costs are a huge factor in airline ticket prices. And yet, airlines may be hard-pressed, at least in the short-term to pass on the rising fuel costs to passengers. That as the pressure comes at the precise time when the airlines are making a recovery in Hawaii passenger traffic following the latest Covid wave.
What Hawaii is doing to free itself of oil dependency.
Kauai, which has its own power company, has already achieved 60% renewable energy and that’s anticipated to be 80% in the next couple of years. The islands of Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Lanai, and Molokai are served by Hawaiian Electric and are currently at 35% renewable energy.
Will rising costs next impact your Hawaii travel plans?
As all of us across the country acutely feel the surge in gas prices, it is causing many to rethink budgets and forgo travel and other non-essentials. What about you?