RIVERTOWNS, N.Y. – Although gas prices were expected to rise in mid-March, as the summer driving season approaches, Rivertowns motorists have instead seen the price at the pump drop slightly.
At $3.88 per gallon of regular gas, New Yorkers still pay the second most in the continental United States, topped only by California’s $4.04; however, the national average is down to $3.62 per gallon, 10 cents cheaper than a month ago and nearly 30 cents lower than a year ago, according to AAA’s daily fuel gauge report.
Ray Barrera stopped in Dobbs Ferry at the Mobile station on Ashford Avenue. Friday to get gas at $3:89 a gallon for a weekend trip to New Jersey.
"Prices aren't too bad right now, but they always go up around Memorial Day," Barrera said. "I usually get some gas here (New York) then fill up on the way back from Atlantic City. The gas is much cheaper in Jersey."
Robert Sinclair, the media relations manager for AAA New York, said fuel prices spiked in mid-February, and the region has seen a steady decline in prices since.
“The price of crude oil has fallen slightly, that may have something to do with it,” he said. “The spike we’re anticipating can still come. The summer driving season is still a few months off, so we’ll have to see what happens.”
Sinclair said there may still be a dramatic spike around Memorial Day, which is the unofficial kickoff of the summer driving season, when oil companies raise prices as motorists prepare to spend more time in the car.
“If companies anticipate a busy Memorial Day, then we’ll probably have a busy summer,” he added. “With it, demand goes up, and oil companies never miss a chance to raise prices. That’s the next hurdle for us to look for.”
Refineries have already made the switch from a winter blend of gasoline to the more expensive, eco-friendlier summer blend. The transition happened earlier than usual, which led to the spike in mid-February, as opposed to in March.
“We usually get the jump in mid-March because the refineries need to shut down for a few days, sometimes even for a week or two. It creates short-term shortages,” Sinclair said. “It’s still pretty darn cold out, so their actions seemed premature.”
Sean O'Reilly, co-owner of Rivertowns Taxi, said his business watches gas and toll prices closely.
"We raised our prices about four to five years ago when gas hit about $4.50 a gallon," O'Reilly said. Since that time the only increases have been because of toll hikes."
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