Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hawaii Is Priciest Place To Own a Car, and Soaring Oil Tax Doesn’t Help

The price of rent, groceries, gasoline, electricity.... Hawaii is either at the top or real close in each of those categories, and now we learn it costs more to own a vehicle here than any other state. The hits just keep coming, don’t they?

According to, the average vehicle ownership expense over five years is driven higher in the Aloha State thanks to Hawaii’s taxes, fees, insurance, fuel and maintenance.

And just wait ‘til Edmunds factors in Hawaii’s new $1/barrel oil tax increase that kicks in this July! That’s up from 5 cents per barrel. The increase will add about 2.5 cents to the price of a gallon of gas – not to mention the cost of just about all other goods imported into the state.

Ah, but it’s for a good cause, backers said, since increasing the cost of fossil fuels may just spur on the development of alternative energy sources. If that’s what it does, we’re fine with it, but a big chunk of the $22 million that’s expected to be raised annually will simply go into the state’s General Fund to help balance the budget. Let’s just say many of us will be watching closely to see exactly what good comes from this across-the-board increase in the cost of living here.

Nissan Leaf Heading to Hawaii

As the nation’s only island state with relatively short commuting distances, Hawaii would seem to be an ideal location for electric vehicles. Nissan North America Inc. apparently thinks so, too.

Hawaii will be an initial launch market early next year of the Nissan Leaf, an all-electric car that will be introduced on the mainland starting in December. According to CNET, federal tax credits of $7,500 would bring the Leaf’s prince down to just over $25,000.

With the high price of gasoline here helped along even higher by the $1/barrel boost in the oil tax, Hawaii consumers may be even more eager to try the Leaf than Nissan expects. A real quick survey found two people at the 10th Annual Hawaii Build and Buy Green Conference and Expo today who said they're on the waiting list for Leaf.

We won’t name names, but you can take a guess in the comments section below. Just think about which highly visible officials would want to be on the cutting edge of clean and green personal transportation in the state.

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