April 29, 2014

Editorial: Keeping an eye on gas prices

Few price tags get people as worked up as the ones they see at the gas pump.

Drivers have always grumbled that the prices around here — except those on the American Indian reservations — are higher than they should be.

Over the years, that has been blamed on higher state taxes, transportation costs to our more remote locations and other factors.

State legislators have, over the years, looked into whether any kind of collusion is involved and have not found any evidence of that.

The Press-Republican periodically does price surveys at area gas stations so consumers can compare prices. And almost every week, we run information from the website GasBuddy, which reports on whether gas prices around New York are up or down and how they compare to national averages.

That knowledge might not ease the pain as you fill your tank, but at least you can track the changes.

GasBuddy recently studied first-quarter prices for 2014 from 120,000 gas stations across the United States.

The results show that although average gas prices are down in New York from a year ago, it is one of the states with the longest streaks of rising gas prices.

California topped that list at 66 consecutive days. Washington was second, at 55 days in a row; then Virginia, 54 days; West Virginia, 53; and New York in fifth place, with 44 days.

Not the kind of list anyone would want their state to make.

Some other information culled by GasBuddy:

• Virginia boasted the largest savings at the pump for January through March 2014 versus the same time period in 2013, at 23.7 cents per gallon. The rest of the Top 5 were also all southern states: Georgia, down 23.5 cents a gallon lower; Mississippi, 23.5 cents a gallon; South Carolina, 23.2 cents a gallon; and Alabama, 23.1 cents a gallon.

• A total of 48 states saw lower first-quarter gas prices this year than last. The two that didn’t were: Colorado, 8.6 cents a gallon higher, and Wyoming, up 14 cents a gallon.

• Montana saw the cheapest average in the first quarter at $3.09 a gallon.

• Hawaii saw the highest prices, averaging $4.06 a gallon.

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