RYE BROOK, N.Y. – As the calendar turns to August, Rye Brook, Port Chester and Rye residents are feeling added pressure at the pump after gas prices nationwide rose 17 cents a gallon in July.
New York gas prices are among the highest in the nation, with drivers paying an average of $3.70 per gallon, compared with the national average of $3.53 for regular unleaded gas.
The price increase came after three months of dwindling prices at the pumps. The 5 percent increase is the most substantial for July since AAA began keeping records in 2000, and the national average price was the third-highest for July since 2000.
“We’ve seen prices going up over the past few weeks because we’re seeing the price of oil rise, which is driving the price of gas up,” said Eric Stigberg, a public affairs manager for AAA. “Anytime you have economic recovery, it tends to drive the price of commodities up.”
In the continental United States, New York drivers pay more for fuel than all but four states, which pay an average of $3.82 per gallon. Locally, Port Chester residents can find the best bargain at the Getty at 200 Westchester Ave., where regular fuel is selling for $3.83 and premium is available for $4.03. For Rye residents, the best deal is at the Gulf station at 300 Theodore Fremd Ave., where regular fuel is priced at $3.89, however, premium is set at $4.25.
During the summer, gas stations use a summer fuel that burns more cleanly than winter fuel – also contributing to higher prices, Stigberg said.
“Typically, once we get out of the summer driving season, when there’s a higher demand, refineries can switch out of the summer gas, which is more expensive to produce,” he said. “That forces price down as well, so we might see prices start teetering downward.”
Until prices fall, residents are doing whatever they can to pinch pennies at the pump. Ralph Lopez, a Port Chester resident who was filling up his SUV for $3.91 a gallon near the border of Rye and Port Chester on Boston Post Road, said he uses any cost-saving measures he can find.
“Gas stations are doing more to get people to come to them,” said Lopez, swiping his Sunoco “Save on Fuel” card. “I save three cents on gas for every cup of coffee that I buy. Who doesn’t need coffee first thing in the morning? I use this all the time.”