PLATTSBURGH — The prices at the pump, locally and nationally, have been on the rise since early July, and motorists are taking notice.
“It’s crazy,” Tina Hoffman said as she pumped gas into her car at a local gas station.
“In the back of my mind, I can’t help but wonder if there’s a little gouging going on.”
She doesn’t understand how the price can change so much so fast and be 10 cents cheaper at one location compared to another just a few miles up the road.
Angered by the overnight hike in prices, Hoffman walked into a Stewart’s Shop recently and questioned the cashier about why it happens. She said they pulled out a piece of paper distributed by headquarters that blamed international issues in countries like Libya.
A lot of people blame current and national events, stock prices or wars, Hoffman added, but she thinks many wonder if gouging somewhere along the supply chain is to blame.
“Are they expecting people to complain? Yes. The more people who do this (speak out), maybe we’ll better understand what’s going on and where the money is going.
“I think local candidates could look into it.”
According to GasBuddy, the operator of NewYorkStateGasPrices.com, the cost of regular unleaded in New York state rose 8 cents per gallon between Sunday and Wednesday, from $4.02 to $4.10. Nationally, the price went from $3.81 to $3.86.
In April, retail prices for gasoline ranged between $4.09 and $4.29 per gallon in the North Country, according to a sampling taken by the Press-Republican. But the price fell steadily over the next several weeks; as of early June, the average nationally was $3.57.
As of July 6, it cost $3.36 to pump a gallon of unleaded into the tank.
The Economics and Statistics Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce says that every 10-cent increase in the price of gas equates, on average, to an additional $7 a month for the average household.
In late August, prices had climbed to between $3.86 and $4.09, according to a Press-Republican survey. That’s about when Josh Soper, 22, of Syracuse was dropping off his sister, Richelle Soper, 20, at Plattsburgh State for the start of the semester.
His parents’ 1998 Dodge Caravan is a gas guzzler, he said.
His parents provided him with enough gas money to cover the trip.
“I wouldn’t be here if I was paying for my own gas,” he said.
The car that Josh drives in Syracuse is also a minivan. Fuel prices are a bit cheaper there than in Plattsburgh, but not by much, he said.
“It’s miserable,” paying for the gas it requires, and it’s frustrating to see gas prices go down only to start climbing up again a few weeks later, he said.
But carpooling helps cut down on costs.
“I have two roommates that like to drive so it
works out,” he said.
WORSE IN CANADA
Vacationers also have to budget gas funds. But for Simon Labossiere of Montreal, it’s not a big deal. Gas prices are higher in Montreal due to taxes imposed by the government, he said, as he filled up his SUV at Maplefields on Route 3 in Plattsburgh.
Labossiere doesn’t get upset because of rising costs.
“We can’t change anything,” he said.
According to Natural Resources Canada, a government website, the price per liter in the Montreal area as of Sept. 11 was $1.41, including 49 cents in taxes. That’s equal to $5.33 per gallon in the United States.
— News Editor Suzanne Moore contributed to this report.
The Press-Republican conducts an occasional gas-price survey. Here is a sampling of the price of regular unleaded gas around the area as of April 8. The second number is from Sept. 14. Local regular unleaded gas prices per gallon as of: April 8 Sept. 14 Betty Beaver Truck Stop, Lewis $4.17 $4.23 Byrd's Country Store, Willsboro $4.12 $4.15 Cadyville Gulf, Cadyville $4.12 $4.19 Dubrey's Service Station, Plattsburgh $4.21 $4.19 Eastern Door Convenience Store, Hogansburg $4.05 $4.05 Jay's Sunoco, Ticonderoga N/A $4.10 Liberty's Garage, Peru N/A $4.19 Maplefield, Peru N/A $4.19 Mineville Oil Company, Mineville N/A $4.17 Mountain Mart, Malone $4.23 $4.19 Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, Tupper Lake $4.19 $4.17 Port Henry Mobil, Port Henry N/A $4.11 Ray Brook Sunoco and Deli $4.15 $4.13 Route 11 Mobil, Champlain NA $4.19 Saleem Mobil, Plattsburgh N/A $4.12 Sharkey's Store, Ticonderoga $4.13 $4.09 Village Meat Market, Willsboro $4.12 $4.15 Westport Mobil, Westport $4.29 $4.29 WW Carwash Inc., Plattsburgh $4.23 $4.17