Thursday, September 14, 2006


Thank Hawaii's House leadership for what you're paying now at the pump

Hawaii consumers have good reason to be unhappy with their state representatives for the way they are being robbed at the pump by oil companies right now. All but Bev Harbin (District 28) voted to get rid of Hawaii's gas cap legislation.

From the information below you can calculate how much the loss of the gas cap has cost you and your family. All you need to know is how many gallons of gas you buy.

The money taken out of your pockets by state legislators could have helped pay for the mortgage or rent, for food, or for that holiday to the Big Island or to Vegas. Instead, it's been diverted into the pockets of oil company executives and lobbyists. By whom? By your own elected state House representative (except, again, for Rep. Harbin who did the right thing).

It was too easy for oil industry lobbyists and House leadership to convince legislators that they should cave in to pressure and get rid of the cap, nevermind its effect on households and small business owners across the state. Perhaps Democrats were afraid that it would hurt them in the polls since propaganda against the gas cap was so successful. Well now this has backfired, and it should hurt them in the polls that they killed, rather than improved, the previous law.

If voters are upset that Hawaii's gas prices remain at stratospheric levels, they might remember who did this to them. Take this into consideration as you vote.

House leadership sticks it to consumers

In particular, voters should be upset at House leadership. In the press release below, which is reproduced in its entirety (hey--this is a blog, I don't need to re-write a good story), you'll read how Reps. Morita and Caldwell were pulled from the negotiations. Calvin Say needed to do that because if there were no compromise the old law would still be in effect. His actions directly hurt consumers. Add in House leadership killing health insurance rate regulation and you get a picture of pro-big business decisionmaking.

Advocates For Consumer Rights Calls On Governor To Reinstate Gas Price Cap


HONOLULU: SEPTEMBER 14, 2006 —The Hawai`i consumer organization, Advocates for Consumer Rights (AFCR) issued an appeal today for Governor Linda Lingle to reinstate Hawaii’s gas price cap -- the first such oil-industry regulation in the US -- which she suspended in early May, 2006 by signing a new gas pricing regulation into law. That new law provides the governor with the power to reinstate wholesale gas price regulation.

AFCR spokesperson George Fox said, “Now that we can clearly see how much the suspension of the gas pricing law has cost consumers, it is time for the governor to act.” Fox encouraged the public to contact the Governor’s office on Oahu and ask her to “Please reinstate the Gas Cap.” The longtime Hawai`i consumer advocate also noted, “This is the perfect time -- only days before an election -- to corner every one of your own elected officials and candidates for office and get them onboard to support reinstating the Gas Cap. Phone or ask them in person to reinstate the Gas Cap.”

Recent calculations of the gas price cap by the two major Honolulu daily newspapers show that immediately after the Gas Cap’s suspension, gas prices went up, instead of down, as they would have under the cap. And since the suspension of the gas price law, Hawaii’s gas prices have gone up and remained high, despite the falling cost of wholesale and retail gasoline elsewhere. Had the cap remained in effect, gas prices would have been lower throughout the summer and substantially lower during long periods, including the entire month of July and the month of September thus far. If the newly passed gas price regulation was in effect today, using recent newspapers calculations, the price for regular unleaded would be $2.79, instead of the $3.28 that AAA reports as the Hawaii average price, a $0.51 per gallon difference, or more than an additional $10.21 to fill up a 20-gallon tank.

Given that about 800,000 gallons of unleaded regular are sold in Hawaii everyday, that amounts to approximately $480,00 more that local consumers will have paid today to the petroleum industry than they would have if the cap were still in effect. According to petroleum industry analyst Tim Hamilton, “It’s clear consumers could have paid less at the pump in Hawai`i since the price ceiling was suspended. Hawaii’s economy would be significantly better off if consumers were spending that money locally, instead of putting it in the pockets of the oil companies.”

Fox added, “Before the gas price law was suspended, we were confident it was working, but we couldn’t prove it, because the oil companies and their supporters always claimed the unregulated price would have been lower. Now we can see their prices and compare them to the formula in the law. Two things are now obvious: the price cap would have saved consumers millions of dollars and the oil companies have never departed from their historical pattern of gouging the people of Hawai`i, even when global market forces indicate there is no justification for the high prices. AFCR will be calculating prices in the future and reporting the difference between what Hawai`i consumers are paying and what they could be paying with the gas price cap.”


George Fox noted that the House Democrats had “sold out” Hawaii’s consumers during the 2006 legislative session when a group led by Representatives Kirk Caldwell, Bob Herkes and Hermina Morita unexpectedly moved against the Gas Cap. At the last moment, Caldwell and Morita were removed from the conference committee and the current compromise legislation (sidelining the Gas Cap but keeping its reporting requirements) was passed. Fox said, “The only member of the House to support the original Gas Cap was Representative Bev Harbin. Because of her expertise in the petroleum industry, Harbin knew the reality and stuck to her guns when the rest folded under the political pressure coming from the powerful oil lobby. On the Senate side, Consumer Protection Committee Chair, Ron Menor held the line against the rapacious oil industry and their minions.”



Post a Comment

Requiring those Captcha codes at least temporarily, in the hopes that it quells the flood of comment spam I've been receiving.

<< Home


page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Newer›  ‹Older