NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Although gas prices were expected to rise in mid-March, as the summer driving season approaches, motorists around North Salem, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge 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.
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.”
Locally, regular gas is selling for $3.77 at the Exxon Station at Exit 4 of Route 84 in Danbury, at $3.95 at the BP Station on Route 35 just over the Ridgefield border, and at $3.77 at the Valero Station on Route 22 in Brewster. The Shell Station on Route 35 in Cross River is charging $3.89 and the Shell Station at Exit 8 of 684 in Croton Falls is charging $3.99 per gallon.
The Daily Voice asked drivers if the price of gas affects their driving. “I certainly drive less” when gas prices are higher said local resident Clare Wood and Jeanne Pitta said, “I wish I could drive less, but around here we’re totally dependent on our cars and so we have to go with the flow.”
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