How the Tesoro refinery closure could impact residents

East-West Center Energy Expert: No jump in prices soon

 UPDATED 7:48 AM HST Jan 09, 2013
HONOLULU -

The news about Tesoro closing its Kapolei refinery was making some motorists nervous about what will happen for the short and long term.

Bobby Fletcher works at a fast food restaraunt where the pay is minimum wage.

"The prices is what worries me the most.  It's almost $4 a gallon," said Fletcher.

Energy experts at the East-West Center don't believe there will be any real jump in prices in the near future.

"It doesn't mean supply will be gone.  It's only local supply that will be gone," said Kang Wu from the East-West Center.

But, the closure may make us more vulnerable to outside forces.

"I am not happy with any manufacturing leaving Hawaii," said Barney Robinson, an independent owner of a Chevron station.

Robinson wondered about the price of aviation fuel and the impact on tourism.

"That refinery was engineered to make jet fuel and in the process made by a product of gasoline and that's how we got started with Gas Express and BHP and PRI and now Tesoro," said Robinson.

Tesoro said it will be meeting with its customers, the military and the airlines to talk about its current contracts and future sources.

Until the switchover happens, this latest wrinkle just may get people thinking about our dependence on oil.

"It's an opportunity to get into renewable energy," said Honolulu resident Mike Angelo.  "And an opportunity to ride your bike to work."

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