Running Out of Gas

Kalaupapa faces fuel shortage, imposes rationing for entire community.
By Sean Aronson

Residents of Kalaupapa may not have far to go when it comes to driving in this small area, yet they are facing a gas crisis.

That’s because they are using gas at a faster rate than their fuel storage can support.  At their current usage, they will run out by June – more than a month before the annual barge is set to bring more.

Kalaupapa, a peninsula of just a dozen square miles or so with less than 10 miles of road, is home to about a hundred people.  For such a small population, though, there does seem to be a lot of vehicles.  And residents think nothing of getting in their car to visit neighbors just a short distance away.

“We’ve got to change our habits,” says acting administrator Tim Richmond.

In order to ensure those habits do change, the community imposed a five gallon per week fuel rationing several months ago.  But it is not enough.  Now they have lowered the ration to just two gallons per person per month.  

The ration includes second vehicles, scooters or four-wheelers and even lawnmowers.

Kalaupapa residents are encouraged to monitor their daily activities and find places where they can cut usage, says Richmond.  He is insisting everyone carry a notebook and log the mileage on the odometer every time the car is started.

During a trial monitoring phase, one resident drove 26 miles in just one day.

“Do we really need to drive that much?” asked Richmond.

Suggestions for fuel reduction include taking a lunch to the worksite (to prevent a return trip home) and carpooling when possible.

Others had slightly more unorthodox suggestions for fuel reduction.

Kalaupapa resident Gloria Marks asked, “Would it help if I closed the bar?”


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