Press-Republican

February 16, 2013

Gas prices climb steeply

RUTHANN ALEXANDER
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — SUNY Plattsburgh student Stanley Blow III has a car but doesn’t drive it often here because gas is not cheap.

“(But) when I have to go home, I really feel the pain of having to open my wallet,” he said. “Luckily, I drive a pretty small car, so it doesn’t cost me nearly as much as it does others. 

“I can probably fill my tank from empty for about $35 to $40.”

A month ago, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas was $3.71 in New York state, according to GasBuddy.com, which was actually 12 cents cheaper than the same time last year.

But prices climbed a total 14 cents between Jan. 16 and Feb. 15 to $3.94 per unleaded gallon. And between Monday and Friday this week, some North Country gas stations hiked prices as much as 10 cents. 

The cost to put a gallon of regular in the tank last year at this time was about $3.83.

‘PENALIZED HERE’

There’s a sense of unfairness, too — gas in New York state is about 33 cents a gallon more expensive than the national average, which, as of Friday, was just $3.64.

SUNY Plattsburgh student Tim Maggio has noticed the higher gas prices here — in his hometown of Newark in Wayne County, motorists paid about $3.78 a gallon on Friday, GasBuddy.com reported.

Maggio said he makes it a point to drive only rarely. Instead, he chooses to take the SUNY campus shuttle as a less expensive alternative. 

Rhonda Barber, owner of trucking company X-PLO Inc. in Plattsburgh, said she can’t believe how expensive gas is in a part of the country where wages are so low.  

“Why are we being penalized here when wages are lower?” she said in a phone interview. “The biggest problem is, why can you go two hours down the road and the prices are 50 cents a gallon cheaper?”  

Barber has nine trucks on the road, and it costs her company $10,000 a month for fuel. 

— News Editor Suzanne Moore contributed to this report.

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GAS PRICES 

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 Feb. 15. The first number is from Dec. 23, 2012.