Hawaii, even more than California and the West, is geographically isolated. With only two major refiners, Chevron and Tesoro, it is entirely uncompetitive in gasoline pricing, and is usually the only state paying more than California. Its legislature is on the verge of activating a new law requiring those refiners to report much more information on operational costs and profits to state government, and at least a little more to the public.
It’s only a baby step, because so much data will still be kept under wraps as a trade secret. Hawaii is such a small and concentrated market that there could hardly be a trade secret between Chevron and Tesoro. What Chevron and Tesoro are resisting is having Hawaii’s knowledge applied to the rest of their U.S. operations. If every state gathered full and accurate details on refinery costs and profits, including the wholesale prices being charged by parent companies like Chevron, lawmakers would be forced to act against Big Oil’s blatant price gouging.
Other state legislatures, particularly California’s, owe their motorists action similar to, and better than, Hawaii’s. Drivers deserve at least to know how their pockets are being picked.