HARRISON, N.Y. – Gas prices seemed to be going down in Harrison before Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast, but in its wake, New Yorkers have found no relief at the pump when they go to fill up.
As of Friday afternoon, motorists in New York were paying an average of $3.96 per gallon for regular, the highest in the continental United States, according to AAA. The price is 3 cents lower than a week ago. In Harrison, the cheapest gas was $3.99, which could be found at the Sunoco station at Halstead Avenue and Truxton Street.
Despite the rise in prices, motorists continue to fill up. Greenwich resident Pat Quis gets her gas in New Rochelle.
“They have the best gas prices around – a lot more competition,” she said. Quis usually gets it at Costco, where it is $3.79.
It may be some time before prices start to drop. Robert Sinclair, the spokesperson for AAA New York, said that storm surges related to Sandy knocked out several refineries, hindering gas deliveries and causing gas prices to rise.
“The storm surge shorted out electrical power and flooded facilities. Salt water, petroleum and electricity don’t mix,” he said. “The Bayway Refinery [in New Jersey] sends out 238,000 barrels of gasoline every day, and it’s been shut down. So that’s a big reason why we’re seeing the shortages.”
Sinclair said that there is no timetable for complete restoration, and that prices have jumped as far as they have at any time since hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“Most people aren’t talking about prices right now. They’re just happy to be getting gasoline. There has been as much as a 20-cent increase around us,” he said. “My gut says it will be a week or two until we get all the facilities back. They were pretty significantly damaged. It all hinges on when we can get these waterside terminals and refineries back up and running again.”