EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Although gas prices were expected to rise in mid-March, as the summer driving season approaches, motorists around Eastchester and Bronxville 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.”
GasBuddy did not have listed prices for the cheapest gasoline around Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville, but Eastchester resident Catherine Scott said she is bracing for the inevitable.
“It’s definitely nice to see prices going down, but it’s only a matter of time until we see them go in the opposite direction,” she said. “We just have to keep filling up and keep our fingers crossed for the best.”
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