WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Although gas prices were expected to rise in mid-March, as the summer driving season approaches, motorists around White Plains 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.”
In White Plains, the cheapest regular gas can be found for $3.77 per gallon at Sunoco on 555 N. Broadway. The cheapest premium gas can be found for $4.25 per gallon at Gulf on 634 Mamaroneck Ave.
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.”
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