Gas prices on the rise; Could we hit $4 a gallon locally?


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - If you have been to the gas pump lately, you may have noticed prices have risen over the past couple of weeks, and are continuing to go up.

The station at Kinney Drugs on Oriskany Boulevard in Whitesboro raised its price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline seven cents Monday morning, however, it appears Kinney still has the lowest price around.

They raised their price from $3.61 per gallon to $3.68 per gallon, when most other stations here in our area are about twenty cents higher.

Joan Evans who lives not too far from the Kinney Drugs in Whitesboro, was pumping gas Monday morning, just minutes after the price went up those seven cents.

Evans says she is not sure why the prices at Kinney are lower than everywhere else, "I don't know, I don't ask questions...I pump gas."

Utica AAA Spokesperson Ed Welsh believes Kinney's price won't last, "He's probably working on the last tank he bought from last week. But as you see them replenish their supplies you'll see the price go up."

According to AAA, New York State now has the highest prices in the United States, except for Hawaii.

Here in Upstate New York, Rochester has the lowest average per gallon of regular unleaded at $3.79 per gallon, Albany is at $3.82, Buffalo is at $3.85 and we here in Utica top the list at $3.87 per gallon.

Welsh says the closing of refineries is now having an effect on gas prices here in the northeast, "About 18 months ago, Hess closed a refinery in the Caribbean, and just last week they closed a refinery in New Jersey, also the Sun Oil Company closed a refinery down in Delaware."

Welsh says the companies are closing refineries because company officials say those refineries for whatever reasons weren't making money, and their closings mean higher costs at the pump for Central New Yorkers because the companies here now have to get gas from further away, "That means gas has to be brought in here by pipeline, barge, however else you're going to get it here, so that adds cost. That's one of the big problems we have."

On top of the refinery closures, Welsh says the lingering production problems due to Hurricane Sandy are still having an effect , and on top of that he says we can't forget New York State now has the highest gasoline taxes in the entire country.

But could prices go higher? Welsh says they definitely can and believes they will continue to creep up.

He says the current prices are not even taking into account the recent problems in the Middle East between Israel and Syria, "The fear premium hasn't been factored in yet, and of course what happens to our deficit will also figure in."

Welsh says there may be some hope on the horizon if the nation allows the Keystone Pipeline to go through. He says new refineries are already being built in Louisiana, where the proposed Keystone Pipeline would go, and he says that could make a dent in prices across the country, even right here in Central New York.

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