WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A diminished fuel supply and the switch to a more expensive summer blend of gasoline means that White Plains residents will not enjoy much relief at the pump as prices continue to soar.
As of Friday afternoon, motorists in New York were paying an average of $3.92 per gallon for regular, the second highest in the continental United States – behind California’s $4.01 – according to AAA. Average prices in the state had risen 10 cents since the prior week.
Robert Sinclair, the spokesperson for AAA New York, said the Port Reading Refinery in Woodbridge, N.J., is set to shut down at the end of the month. The refinery ships 70,000 barrels of oil each day, about 7.5 percent of what is consumed in the Northeast.
“When you take that amount of product off the market, what’s left becomes that much more valuable,” he said. “We can expect prices to go up when that happens. Things are going to get very hairy during the summer driving season.”
In White Plains, the cheapest regular gas Friday evening was $3.85 per gallon at the Gulf station at 274 Hamilton Ave., according to New York Gas Prices. The Sunoco at 555 N. Broadway was selling regular gas for $3.93 per gallon.
“With the refinery going down, it’ll be up to the other guys to make up the difference, or we’ll have that much less volume,” Sinclair said. “What’s left will become more expensive. It’s a pretty big hit, taking that amount of a commodity off the market.”
In mid-March, gas stations will switch to a summer blend of gasoline, which is more eco-friendly for the busier driving season. Between the switch in blends and the extended cold spell the East Coast is experiencing, Sinclair said, prices will likely only continue to rise.
“We won’t see relief anytime soon,” he said. “The cold weather has worsened the situation. The colder it gets, there is a greater demand for home heating oil, which competes with gasoline for available crude oil. All of these factors flying into the market leave us believing prices will continue to go up.”