\As it gets closer to summer, temperatures should start rising soon. But even if they don’t, gas prices still are.
On Friday, AAA said a gallon of gasoline was around $2.97 in the Lockport area, as well as the Buffalo Niagara Falls metropolitan area. That’s an increase from Tuesday, when the agency said gas was about $2.95 on average. Just a month ago, a gallon would cost a Lockport driver seven cents less. Nationwide, gas was about $2.86 a gallon Friday, a 10 cent increase from last month. Experts are saying gas prices should surpass $3 a gallon this summer.
While most people don’t like to hear that, there are some who are so tired of hearing about gas increasing in price, it doesn’t matter to them anymore. Howie Bugl from the Town of Lockport filled up his vehicle Friday at Transit Road Car Wash on South Transit Road.
“If you can’t spend the money, then don’t drive. It’s just going up anyway,” Bugl said.
Spring is a time when gas typically goes up, said Bevi Powell, AAA East Central communications director. That’s because oil refiners are switching to summer blends, which are more expensive, while gasoline demand will go up with more drivers on the road. Some refiners close down for routine maintenance, too.
While drivers across the country will definitely be paying $3 a gallon for gas, it won’t be anything like summer 2008. The summer of $4 gallons, New York state hit an all-time high in July 2008 with prices of almost $4.30 a gallon. Oil was selling for $150 a barrel in 2008, compared to $50 last year and $84 a barrel Friday.
“There were a lot of different factors back then, it was a different economy, different demand,” Powell said. “It won’t be as high as it was two years ago, but it will be higher than last year.”
How investors feel about the economy is a big player in the price of oil, which in turn affects the price of gasoline. When there is optimistic news about the economy, such as a report that said more jobs were created last month, oil prices usually go up. As the economy improves, the price of oil usually goes up, as does the demand for gasoline.
To help travelers manage their costs, Powell suggested looking to AAA’s Web site while planning a trip. People can check out average prices for all metropolitan areas in the country.
“They can check and see where the cheapest gas is, compare prices and plan,” Powell said.
Back in October 2008, Congressman Brian Higgins sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission calling for an investigation into local gas prices. The investigation would look into why gas prices were much higher in Western New York when compared to other areas in the country. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer joined Higgins and started to press the FTC in January 2009.
The commission released a report in May 2009 that said the FTC was unable to identify precise reasons why retail gasoline prices in some cities in Western New York remained high. “(Prices) did not fall as quickly as prices in other Northeast cities,” according to the report
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