7.5.06

SLOW LEARNERS? Hawaii's wholesale gas price cap is gone.
Hawaii's gas price limits are going away, but oil companies will still be pressured to keep gas prices low. Prices at the pump are not expected to be affected immediately by Governor Lingle signing a bill to suspend the state's unique gas cap law. She signed the bill yesterday, ending the state's eight-month effort to try to rein in ever-increasing gas prices.
That unique law perpetuated an instructive folly which I noted, with references, six months ago. Hawaii Reporter cautions that no bad idea ever goes away.
Contrary to early media reports, suspension of the Gas Cap ends the calculation and publication of the maximum wholesale gas price by the Public Utilities Commission -- but it does not provide for complete repeal of the Gas Cap after a two year period. At the same time it changes the to-be-disused-formula in a way that lowers it by $0.08 per gallon and also adds Singapore prices to the formula by which prices would be calculated if the Gas Cap were to be reinstated.

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