EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – As the calendar turns to August, Harrison residents are feeling added pressure at the pump, after gas prices nationwide rose 17 cents a gallon in July.
New York gas prices are among the highest in the nation, with drivers paying an average of $3.70 per gallon, compared to the national average of $3.53 for regular unleaded gas.
The price increase comes after three months of dwindling prices at the pumps. The 5 percent increase is the most substantial for July since AAA began keeping records in 2000, and the national average price was the third-highest for July since 2000.
“We’ve seen prices going up over the past few weeks because we’re seeing the price of oil rise, which is driving the price of gas up,” said Eric Stigberg, a public affairs manager for AAA. “Anytime you have economic recovery, it tends to drive the price of commodities up.”
In the continental United States, New York drivers pay more for fuel than all but four states, which pay an average of $3.82 per gallon.
Stigberg said that during the summer, because of an increase in travelers, gas stations have to use a summer fuel that burns more cleanly than winter fuel – also contributing to higher prices.
“Typically, once we get out of the summer driving season, when there’s a higher demand, refineries can switch out of the summer gas, which is more expensive to produce,” he said. “That forces price down as well, so we might see prices start teetering downward.”
Until prices fall, residents are doing whatever they can to pinch pennies at the pump. George Budde, a Harrison resident, said he is taking fewer long-term trips than he used to.
“More trips closer to home,” Budde said as he pumped his car at $4.19 a gallon at the Shell station on Halstead Avenue. “I used to go to Florida, back and forth drive, no more – it’s too much. It’s cheaper to fly.”
Budde said the gas prices were outrageous, but he does not see them coming down anytime soon.
“I think it’s going to be a while – nothing ever ends soon when it’s a lot of money,” said Budde. “Whenever things are a lot of money, the prices don’t stop very soon. It takes a long time, it takes a while.”
Mari Delrivero, who also lives just a short drive from the Shell station, said she is tired of the high gas prices.
“It’s really expensive – but you have to do what you have to do to get along,” she said. “I’m lucky, I don’t have to travel that much. I fill up maybe once every two weeks.”