Hawaii’s gas tops $4,3 a gallon image

Hawaii’s average price for regular gasoline increased 23 cents a gallon from last week to reach $4, 31, and residents statewide are feeling the pinch, according to gasbuddy.com

The lowest average prices are in Wyoming where people pay $3.319 for one gallon – that’s one dollar down compared to Hawaii.

“Despite the small drop in the national average, this is likely not a sign that gas prices have peaked for the season,” said Marie Dodds, AAA Oregon’s public affairs director.

“As long as instability remains in Northern Africa and the Middle East, oil and gas prices will continue to be volatile.”

Oil also rose as the U.S. and its allies prepared to attack Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s troops and protesters clashed with government forces in Syria, bolstering concern that supply will be disrupted.

Meantime, U.S. crude oil imports during the week averaged nearly 9.0 million barrels per day last week, up by 306,000 barrels per day from the previous week, official data revealed.

Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute reported that gasoline stocks for the week ended March 18 tumbled 7.9 million barrels, much more than a drop of 2 million barrels expected by analysts surveyed by Platts.

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have said they would increase production to make up for what Libya normally produces for the European market. It takes time, however, for increased production to make it onto tanker ships and to waiting markets.