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The Upstate Economy

Area gas prices on the rise, but still better than last year

Mike Mozart

With spring approaching, gas prices are on the rise across the country and in central New York.  And the increase may be a little more dramatic at pumps in the Syracuse area.

According to the AAA Western and Central New York, this region watched  the price at the pump jump an average of 22 cents a gallon last month. And that’s pretty typical for this time of year, as oil companies make the expensive switch from winter to summer blend fuels, and take some refineries offline for maintenance.  

But one thing that’s different in central New York, according to AAA spokeswoman Diana Dibble, is the speed of the change.

"Here in the Syracuse area, when prices start to recede, we see them go down quickly. Unfortunately when they go up, we see them go up at a faster rate as well,” said Dibble. “Then you look at a market in Buffalo area, for example, when prices start to come down they go very slowly, but they also rise slowly.”

Dibble says variability all has to do with suppliers and competition. She says there are more suppliers and low-cost options in this part of the state. And according to gas price web sites, the lower gas prices seem to be clustered in certain areas, like the Camillus/Fairmount area, and East Syracuse.  

Dibble says the AAA expects prices to rise between 30 and 50 cents from February through spring before leveling off.

But Dibble says putting the current average price of $2.46 a gallon in perspective, helps makes it seem not so bad.

“We’re down almost $1.40 compared to last year. Nobody likes to see prices creep up, but at least we’re coming from a place, coming from a lower level.”

And AAA says it’s not expecting average prices to go much beyond $3 a gallon because of crude prices.

“The price of crude oil, although it is fluctuating, it is still low. There are multi-year lows registering for the price of crude oil. So unless anything really unforeseen happens, generally we are expecting prices in 2015 to be lower than what we’ve seen in the past.”