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Sun., Dec. 21
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Gas prices on the rise... again

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By BENNY FAIRCHILD

MASSENA - A week ago. it appeared Massena motorists might be benefitting from a gas war in the community as prices at the pump seemed to be dropping by the day with the price of a gallon of unloaded gasoline dropping to $3.62 by the end of the last week.

It was a short respite with the price of that same gallon of gallon jumping by 20 to 25 cents by the end of this week. The prices at the Mountain Mart Mobil and the Sunoco station on South Main Street are strong indicators of Massena’s gas price. The posted price at the Mobil station was $3.88 per gallon, seven cents higher than the Sunoco station across the road. The two stations have been hiked their prices several times this week often by up to 6 cent per gallon increases at a time. “It really has been a national spike,” GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan said.

While Mr. DeHaan said the price of gas has risen all across the country this week, he said based on the numbers he’s looking at in terms of oil prices, he doesn’t exactly understand why.

“Sitting in my chair here, the numbers I’m looking at don’t really explain why the numbers are going up this much,” he said, adding the price for a barrel of oil this week has risen from $91 to $93 per barrel.

Mr. DeHaan said he did have a couple of theories for the price spike.

One theory was that refineries were doing their annual maintenance, which slows production, in anticipation of the spring and summer travel seasons. “There may be more of that than in recent years,” he said.

He said the price of gas could be linked to the booming stock market, where the Dow Jones has now eclipsed 14,000 points.

“Some of the bullish sentiment may be spilling over into oil,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve seen the stock market this high, since at least 1997.”

He explained oil and gasoline are traded as commodities in a similar manner to stocks.

But there is one major difference.

“Unlike with stocks, where you get a piece of paper, with oil and gasoline you get the physical product, and there’s only so much available,” he said. “If everyone is buying into oil or gasoline for down the road, that affects our pocketbook.

While the gas prices may have risen dramatically in recent days, according to Gasbuddy.com, the national average of $3.45 per gallon, which is 18 cents higher than this time last month, is only 4 cents higher than it was at this time last year.

New York state’s average of $3.81 per gallon is among the most expensive gas in the nation, with only California at $3.84 and Hawaii at $4.09 costing more. Two states, Wyoming, $2.87 per gallon ,and Montana at $2.99 per gallon, are even enjoying gas that’s below $3 per gallon.

He said New York’s high gas prices could be attributed to a combination of higher taxes in New York and the tighter supply as a result of the closure of three refineries on the east coast last year.

“Even though the shut down refineries are now open, inventory is still tight,” he said. “It’s not like they can build up inventory overnight.”

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