The Japanese have fuel to launch the strike - it doesn't really matter if they launch it at Pearl or they launch it at a fleet steaming towards them. If they abort before their strike position for Pearl that will increase their fuel reserves. There are also the mini-subs which if they were deployed as the fleet sortied would have excellent attack positions.We know that the Kido Butai was short of fuel, so an important question is whether or not the US command would assume this.
I suspect they'd know it was a big stretch to attack Hawai'i. So the US fleet can win (and possibly decisively) by forcing the Kido Butai to manouevre or to speed up . I have no idea how easy this would be to arrange, but sound reasoning or blind luck for the US and bad planning or panic by the Japanese cpuld be enough.
 If they run out of fuel or think that this could happen, the entire Kido Butai(or at least a substantial part of the smaller ships) could be at risk. Can aircraft carriers launch when out of fuel?
It would be a very long stern chase for the USN and they would be under threat of air attack all the way unless they could co-ordinate with the missing carriers. Enterprise is in a good position but it's only one carrier. Lexington is out of position and both were undertaking aircraft ferry missions so may be understrength in their a/c complement.
If the Japanese got three strikes in on the USN at sea and the mini subs had their chance the outcome in terms of lives lost for the USN could be much more expensive. The number of battleships sunk might be less but there would be no chance of refloating them in this scernario.