Hawaii is the first in the U.S. with $4-a-gallon gasoline
It's a race no state wanted to win, but someone apparently had to. Hawaii became the first in the nation to top $4 a gallon for regular gasoline, on average, over the weekend. The current price in Hawaii stands at $4.001, up 0.1 cents overnight, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.
The Fuel Gauge report is compiled electronically from daily credit card receipts from more than 100,000 retail outlets across the United States and is collected by the Oil Price Information Service in New Jersey and by Wright Express.
Hawaii is typically one of the three most expensive states for fuel prices (along with Alaska and California) because its oil and fuel has to be shipped via tankers. Prices on the islands have been on a steady rise since September, but remain below the state's all-time record of $4.507 a gallon.
Hawaii sustained about $1 million in damage from the tsunami related to the giant earthquake that struck Japan on Friday.
Some metropolitan areas in the continental United States have also reached $4 a gallon, most of them in California. The Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Lompoc areas have an average of $4.015 a gallon for regular gasoline. San Luis Obispo, Atascadero and Paso Robles are at $4.013 a gallon. Among California's biggest cities, only San Francisco has hit the mark with an average of $4.007 a gallon.
Later Monday, the Energy Department will release its weekly telephone survey of gasoline and diesel prices across the United States.
Meanwhile, oil prices fell early in the trading day, with benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude down 69 cents to $100.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude lost 15 cents to $113.69 on the ICE Futures Exchange.
The AAA Fuel Gauge Report and fuel price averages for all of the 50 states can be found here.
-- Ronald D. White