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Maui Costco Gas Opens at Low $3.99

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   July 12th, 2012 · 52 Disqus Comments ·
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Costco opened their new gas station this morning, selling regular gas at $3.99 and unleaded at $4.19 a gallon. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Reid Cairme  (***Reid is a news/media intern, from Kamehameha Schools – Maui.  Edited by Wendy Osher, News Director)

Costco Wholesale on Maui opened a gas station this morning, selling regular unleaded gas at $3.99 and premium for $4.19 for a gallon.

The price is at least 30 cents lower than prices offered at other Kahului gas stations today.

Stations such as Chevron on Ka’ahumanu Avenue and 76 on Wakea Avenue were selling gas today at $4.29 for a gallon of regular.  That’s below prices reported in recent weeks.

The average price of gas in Wailuku has dropped 55 cents since last month from $4.869, to $4.318, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

The same report shows the drop in gas prices of 22 cents since last week in the days leading up to the Costco Gas opening.

Jeff Cole, Vice President of Costco Wholesale stated that so far, the opening has been met with “nothing but excitement.”

Costco gas will only be available to members of the Costco Wholesale retailer.  Photo by Wendy Osher.

A blessing event marking the opening was attended by Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa this morning. He was the second in line behind a 93-year-old, long time Costco customer.

To fill up gas at the new Costco station, customers must be members at the Wholesale retailer.

Costco now has six gas stations in Hawai’i: three on O’ahu, one in Kona, one in Kauai and the newest addition on Maui.

Aside from the low price, another benefit to filling up, officials say is an added cleaning agent in the gas which helps to keep engines of customer cars running smoothly.

Costco Whole opened their gas station on Maui on Thursday July 12, 2012.  Photo by Wendy Osher.

Jeff Cole, national vice president of Costco Wholesale said he is not certain how the low prices will impact other stations on the island, but he said, “Our commitment is to our customer base.”

He said the Maui gas station has been a long time coming and has been a topic of discussion for over ten years.

While the opening of the new gas station was widely anticipated, so is the expansion of the Costco warehouse on Maui.

Jaime Havron, general manager of Costco on Maui said that they will be expanding to add another 20,000 sq ft. to the Kahului location.

Havron says that there will be many surprises for the people of Maui such as an expanded refigeration section and moving the food court to an outside setting.

The expansion is expected to be completed by the second week of November, in time for Thanksgiving and the holidays.

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  • Gern Blanston

    “…an added cleaning agent in the gas which helps to keep engines of customer cars running smoothly.”

    That’s some major double-speak.  Let’s take a look at it and see what it REALLY means:

    Cars already run smoothly on normal gasoline, unless there’s something mechanically wrong with them. 

    And if there’s something mechanically wrong with your car, it ain’t gonna make it run right just because you added some “secret sauce” to the tank, any more than happy thoughts and rainbows are gonna magically fix a flat tire.

    I strongly suspect that this alleged “cleaning agent” is MORE ALCOHOL, which is interesting for a couple of reasons.  The most significant is, that it takes TWO gallons of alcohol to do the same work as one gallon of gasoline, and your car’s closed-loop fuel injection system will automatically compensate for this by using more fuel.  So if your car normally gets 30 miles to the gallon on gasoline, it would get about 15 miles to the gallon on alcohol.  Or in other words, paying $4 a gallon for alcohol is the same thing as paying $8 a gallon for gasoline.

    You can simply check your fuel mileage yourself, to see how much alcohol has been added.  In reality, they can’t  sell straight alcohol and call it gasoline, but it may be a significantly higher percentage of alcohol (and therefore a lower percentage of gasoline) in the blend that Costco is selling.  

    • gas so leanso sweet

      Hey let go Costco made my favorite gas station price go down thanks costco

      • GasGuy

        Yup, and this is only day one.  Local stations cant screw you anymore, cause you can always say, FU, Im going to Costco.

    • GasGuy

      All gas companies put additives into their gas.  Some of it actually increases the octane which makes for a cleaner burn.  Alcohol is never added except for Ethanol, which is mandated by the state.  Ethanol is cheaper but does ruin your gas mileage.  These additives “try” to make up the difference.  The worst part about Ethanol is that it corrodes the internal workings of the engine which increases wear and tear and will ruin an engine faster than pure gasoline.  

      • Gern Blanston

        Yes.  I said “alcohol”, because Ethanol IS alcohol.

        And if I say “Ethanol” and start trying to explain stoichiometric ratios and stuff, the average guy isn’t gonna understand it.

  • Ndc6355

    it’s about time!!

  • KCardwell

    I think a felt a tremor coming from the local gas stations on this news.  lol.  I have zero sympathy.  The gravy train is over.  

    • Gern Blanston

      There is no “gravy train”.  Gas is, and always has been, an absolutely spectacular bargain. 

      A gallon of milk costs WAY more than a gallon of gas, and all you have to do to get milk is let a cow eat grass. 

      To get a gallon of gas, they have to find out where it is, pay for the rights to drill for it, drill for it, drill again until they find it, pump it out, transport it to ships, ship it half way around the world to a refinery, refine it, put it in tanker trucks, and ship it to the station.  Plus you have to pay for all the equipment and land to do all that, as well as pay for all the people employed to do it.  And a lot of the cost of a gallon of gas is made up of government taxes anyway.

      • Gernisdaman

         Oh, Gern, you are just so my HERO!  Your knowledge  is so impressive!  Please, please, tell us more…………

      • JP

        Lol.  If you really want to impress us, explain WHY milk costs more than gas at the pump.  And its not for any of the reasons you stated in your post.  I’ll give you time to figure it out.  Should be easy if you are as smart as you think.  Dont let your MBA go to waste.  (this should be good).

        • JP

          Now I see why he couldnt answer a simple economics question.  He is just a mechanic.   :) 

      • No Can

        Yes Gern, there are many more liquids that cost more than gas out there per gallon (if they sold some of it by the gallon). Red Bull would cost $28 a gallon, a Starbuck latte $32 a gallon, Robitussin $128 a gallon, Dom Perignon $755 and so on and so forth. 

        But you have to admit we have a somewhat frustrating situation here on Maui, where gas costs more for us than the other islands for some reason (Lanai and Molokai are part of Maui County so they are included with us). People are frustrated because we don’t know why. The price of oil drops and so do gas prices around the nation but Maui’s stays the same. At least until Costco comes along, and then the prices at gas stations around Maui start dropping bit by bit and when Costco opened up yesterday at $3.99 per gallon for unleaded their competitors were down to $4.29 per gallon/unleaded. Personally I feel better that there’s not such a big difference between us and Oahu now, gas at their Costco right now is $3.94 and their average gas station price for unleaded is about $4.19.  Not bad.

        I know that to live on Maui we endure a “Price of Paradise”, pay more for gas, food, rent, mortgage, etc etc. We all know this and we do what we have to because we love this place. But can you blame us for being happy for paying a little less of that P.O.P. and praising Costco a little for making it happen? C’mon Gern, I know you’re playing Devil’s Advocate here but you can’t tell me that you’re not going to take advantage of the cheaper Costco gas too right? ‘Fess up . . .

        • JP

          He is mad googling trying to figure out the economics of this so he can continue to impress us.  Come Gern, yer almost there…  Just a few more clicks…  I learned this concept in undergrad and wasnt covered in grad school so, we are talking basic theory here. :D

        • Gern Blanston

          Yes, No Can, you are right.

          And competition is always good. 

          The prices may fluctuate a little bit- Costco may put a few smaller locally-owned stations out of business, and then the prices may come back up a little bit, but for the most part, I think the other larger mainland-owned gas station chains, the ones with the deep pockets, are going to feel pressured to lower their prices to remain competetive.

      • Gernisdaman

         Oo, oo, you tellum Gern, cuz you da MAN!  Tellum the answer cuz you know what the answer is.  Go, tellum, tellum, we cannot wait.  Show them you know all the answers to things that ponder us all.  We wait for your wisdom and truth with great expectancy………………….

  • Dakine

    I would love to know from Costco, if they would report it, how many gallons did they sell on Day 1.  And I also would love to know what the number is for the first Saturday which is effectively Day 3.

  • Henryk

    Don’t all rush in the madness.   Check out what you will be buying first.  Cheaper, yes, but will your gas mileage be better, same, or worse than what you’re already filling your vehicle with?  I thought I was dreaming when it looked like my vehicle was getting less miles to the gallon with the ethanol fuel, and now am pretty sure that the blended fuel is the reason for less mileage.  I may try it to compare but am not getting sucking into the hype…………..

    • Gern Blanston

      You got it, Henry.

      10% Ethanol will get you about 5% less fuel mileage. 

      So, for example, 25% Ethanol would get you about 12.5% less mileage, which means that a 25% blend at $3.99 a gallon, would be like buying straight gas for $4.50 a gallon.  

      • GasGuy

        Except that Costco is not selling 25% blended gas as our vehicles would not function at that level unless they were modified with FLEX FUEL option.  E-10 is what is mandated by the state.  So, your getting 10% blend at $3.99, or you can get 10% blend on Dairy Road for $4.29, or in Kihei 10% blend for $4.39.   Anything above 10% requires your vehicle to be upgraded to handle it.  Nice try guys.

        • Gern Blanston

          GasGuy, I’m gonna take you at your word- if you’re saying that Costco gas is actually 90% gasoline, then $3.99 would in fact be the best deal that I’m currently aware of.

          And normal late-model cars with closed-loop fuel injection will run just fine on more than 10% Ethanol. Many of those “snake oil” type products at the discount auto parts stores that you dump in your gas tank (marketed as everything from “octane boosters” to “fuel system cleaners”), are just plain old alcohol.  Just read the label on the back. And adding that stuff to gas that already has 10% Ethanol, won’t make your car suddenly start acting up. 

          It is true that most cars need more alcohol-resistant fuel system components, along with larger fuel pumps and injectors to run E-85, because you’re moving something aproaching twice the volume of fuel.  But we’re not talking about E-85.

          I appreciate that you have a vocational background as a hydrocarbon transfer engineer.  I too have a modest amount of relevent experience and education.  I have something approaching half a century in auto repair as a vocation.  As an automotive repair technician, I have held multiple A.S.E. certifications, I am factory-trained by more manufacturers than I could name off the top of my head, I am a graduate of the General Motors University of Automotive Management, and I have been appointed to Chevrolet’s elite National Advisory Board, which is basically the top 1% in the nation.  I also have about a third of a century of experience in motorsports.  I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.

          • GasGuy

            Im a petroleum engineer who works in the refinery business on Oahu.  Thanks for playing.

          • GernsMother

            Wow, did Gern really feel a need to wip out his resume.  Hahaha.  Are you that insecure?  Its funny how above you say you didnt know how the gas hurts the engine and then suddenly you got all the answers.  Maybe there are two Gerns.  So sad when you cant just discuss things without the p*nis waving.  Clearly you suffer from SMS.  Hehehe.

          • JP

            Yea, great resume.  One to be proud of.  LOL.   Gern “Greese Monkey” Blanston.  So, this is curious; if you read all the other comments Gern has made on the other threads, he seems to be an expert on pretty much anything.  Seems like he is more like as mad googler and is actually a phony.  LOL.  Thats my guess.  Internet Cowboy.  Your mother must be proud.

          • GernsMother

            Only when he cooks Sunday dinners.

          • GernsFather

             Uh, you do know that Gern Blanston is not his real name.

          • JP

            Does it matter?  You can still trace all his posts on his forum using his moniker.

    • GasGuy

      Dont pretend CostCo is the only gas station with blended fuel.  All fuel sold on Maui is blended.  There is only one gas station on Maui that as a special is selling pure gasoline, and thats it.  The state mandated the blended fuels.  If we want to get rid of it, (I do), we need to contact the legislators.

      • Henryk

         I’ve heard of one gas station that is advertising ethanol-free gas.  Is that legal in Hawaii?

        • GasGuy

          Yup, just like selling Jet fuel, and other fuel.  As long as they offer the E-10, they are in compliance.  You may want to do the math on what they are offering and see if its as good of a deal as it seems on the surface.  I like it purely from a auto-maintenence stand point.  E-10 really messes with the internals of the engine.

          Personally, I would like to see the state law mandating E-10 withdrawn.  Its bad for so many reasons.

          • Henryk

             Thanks GasGuy!

          • Gern Blanston

            Okay, GasGuy, that’s twice you’ve said that, so I’m calling you on it. 

            How, exactly, are you claiming that “E-10 really messes with the internals of the engine.”?

            E85 has eight and a half times as much Ethanol in it as compared to E-10, and it doesn’t “mess with the internals of the engine.”.  Check the part numbers on any car you choose, and you’re probably gonna find that there are no internal engine differences between Flex-Fuel E-85 compatible engines and regular engines.  The only differences are going to be in the fuel system.

          • GasGuy

            Flex Fuel cars have a sensor in their ECU which adjusts the fuel air mixture depending on the percentage of Ethanol in the engine.  Cars that are that are not Flex Fuel do not have this logic controller in their ECU.  If you put E-85 into a car that is not Flex Fuel rated, plan on buying a new engine very soon after.  On top of that, Flex Fuel cars when filled with Ethanol will corrode the lines.  This same effect happens even with E-10 albeit slowly.

            Some other issues we have found are gummed-up fuel systems, damaged tanks and phase separation caused by stray moisture infiltrating fuel systems have plagued many cars since changing to E-10.  Ethanol holds more water in it and when it heats up under use it gives off water vapor which inside of engines is VERY bad. You basically can end up rusting your engine from the inside out.  Its the water that is the problem, and Ethanol attracts water.  You could probably run E-85 in Arizona in a standard car and have very little issue because of the dry climate.  In Hawaii, you are screwed.

            On the flip side, Ethanol corrodes anything aluminum in your engine and this is not the water, this is the alcohol.  Flex Fuel engines are different from standard engines is that all aluminum parts have been teflon coated to protect them.  Non Ethanol engines do not have this coating.  Your standard car today runs this risk because running on E-10 WILL corrode it over time.  Just with such a low mixture it will take a LONG time with E-10.

          • GasGuy

            Also, there are some fuel additives that some companies add to their gasoline to protect your engine against this corrosion from Ethanol.  There are also after market additives you can add to if you want peace of mind. I run a FLEX FUEL car that is made to run on Ethanol, so not something I worry too much about.

          • Gern Blanston

            There is no “sensor in their ECU which adjusts the fuel air mixture” in any car.  The PCM, or “ECU” as you refer to it, receives information FROM external sensors.  MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor, TPS (Throttle Position Sensor), BAP (Barometric Pressure Sensor), ECT (Engine Coolant Temperature) sensor, as well as deriving engine speed from various sensors, and most relevent, a number of O2 (Oxygen Sensors).

            And what “logic controller” are you referring to?  All PCMs use the information provided by the above-mentioned sensors to constantly correct the air-fuel ratio to a predetermined target, regardless of whether they have E-10, E-85, or straight gasoline in the tank.

            The reason that “Flex-Fuel” E-85 compatible vehicles are different, is because they have to move a MUCH larger volume of fuel.  Injectors and fuel pump sized for gasoline would quickly max out when trying to move nearly twice as much E-85 fuel.  E-85 compatible vehicles, after all, are commonly referred to as “Flex-Fuel”, because they will also run just fine on straight gasoline.

            Plastic fuel lines are not corroded by Ethanol.  The only alcohol-related issues in fuel systems are from seals that can be damaged by alcohol.

            Alcohol is hygroscopic.  That’s actually part of the problem.  You take some old hoopty that has been running on straight gasoline, and start putting a bunch of alcohol in it, and all of the sudden, you’re gonna pick up years of old mud and trash from the bottom of the tank, and send it right through the fuel filter, plugging it solid.  Been there, done that, got the T-shirt, and burned it.

            And you gotta be kidding me- you are not gonna be “rusting your engine from the inside out”.  Many engines in motorsports run on 100% alcohol.

            You may know something about fuel, but you apparently don’t know much about the vehicles that we all drive.

          • JP

            Sounds like you confirmed what was already said.  Ethanol messes up a regular gas engine.  Thanks.  

          • GasGuy

            Yea, I dont have all the auto lingo down.  Sorry.  Im not a mechanic, Im just an engineer.  But your posting and mine both corroborated my earlier statement.  Ethanol does harm regular gas engines.  And when I said engine, I was talking about the power plant as a whole including the fuel system, etc.

  • GasGuy

    Try again Gern.  The local stations were inflating the prices.  I am in the industry.  Get a clue.

  • Kiheigrown87

    my friend works at the shell gas station in Kahului you seriously don’t know what your talking about, they were ripping the people off with high gas prices, before talking you should do your research or actually talk to the people that work and run the gas stations.

    • GasGuy

      If you belonged to HFN, you had a good idea as to how much gouging was going on at the regular stations around Maui.  But, now, HFN even is lowering their prices because of Costco.  You are going to find there will be more parity between Oahu and Maui gas prices.

      • Gern Blanston

        People with deep pockets typically have lower overhead.  They’re better at streamlining their business interests, making them more financially efficient.  They also tend to be able to spread out their fixed expenses over a larger volume of sales.  It’s just plain cheaper for them to do business, so they can afford to have lower prices.

        It is the locally-owned, mom-and-pop type family businesses that this is gonna hurt.  The guy who’s just barely able to afford modern storage tanks.   The guy who’s family has been selling ice, chips, and beer out of the same rickety old building for generations.  That’s the guy that Costco is gonna kill.  And when he’s gone, Costco will be able to raise their prices.  Probably not a lot, but they’ll now have less competition, so they’ll now have less reason to try to compete with, on a price point basis.

        • Bubu

          Doubtful, Mom&Pop isnt in Kahului.  The ones on Dairy Road are NOT mom and pop stores.  Each owner has more than one gas station on Maui and are all corporations.  The Mom&Pop gas stations are in Kula and Haiku and they arent going anywhere.  Kihei gas stations are all corporations, except one.  Lahaina?  Forget about it.  They arent going anywhere.   
          Location will keep these places in business.  The farther the station is away from Costco, the more likely the price will be higher.

    • Gern Blanston

      You know a guy who works at a gas station…

      I’m speechless.

  • Traveling Man

    Stations on Maui prior to the opening of Costco have in my opinion been price gouging us.  I don’t care about their excuses as to why it was high.  The bottom line is that Maui County residents paid the highest in the state, even when we saw the other islands drop their prices ours remained over the top.   But it was quite humorous but at the same time insulting to have seen stations drop from $4.41 to $4.31 and $4.29 overnight. So I am over the moon excited that the Costco station has finally become a reality.  Unfortunately for our Molokai friends they will never see prices drop to a reasonable price ever.

  • guest

    She was 91 years old actually . . . .

  • Maui_Mike

    If it really matters, the additive in costco gas is not alcohol, it is a detergent called Kirkland signature clean power which is supposed to be five times more effective than the mandated detergent already in all gas, this is supposed to remove deposits and also clean and maintain the fuel delivery system, which will in theory increase efficiency thereby increasing mileage per gallon….in theory.

    • Gern Blanston

      So what’s in “Kirkland Signature Clean Power” additive…alcohol?

      • Maui_Mike

        They call it a “detergent” so I assume it is just that, not alcohol, although it does of course contain ethanol (alcohol) as well.

        • GasGuy

          Fuel additives are a varying mixtures of alcohols, ethers, anti-oxidents, leads, and nitrogen for different effects such as increase in power, removing moisture, or cleaning deposits.  The detergent additive in gasoline is specifically called polyisobutylene. 

      • Maui_Mike

        After further reading I can say it is a chemical-polymer detergent additive that the exact composition of is proprietary, it is manufactured by leading additive and polymer manufacturer Lubrizol….so not exactly alcohol I would feel safe saying.

        • GasGuy

          Lubrizol uses 
          polyisobutylene in their detergent additive.  All companies do actually.  The ingredient isnt the secret sauce, its the proportions of all the additives.

  • LaLuna

    I wish Costco would open up a gas station in Lahaina.

  • Porcello

    Is Gern always such a blowhard?


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