GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Though gas prices normally fall at the end of the summer season, Greenburgh residents are still shaking their heads as costs at local gas stations stay just under the $5-per-gallon mark.
AAA Spokesperson Robert Sinclair said it's normal to see gas price numbers skyrocket during summer season, as 85 percent of all summer vacations are traveled by car. But speculations in the market, coupled with the worrying relationship with Iran, has kept the cost of crude oil high.
"The price of crude oil has to do with perceptions," Sinclair said. "If the gas industry thinks things will be better, the price will go up. It's all speculation."
Sinclair referred to the Federal Reserve's issuing a third round of quantitative easing last week, which includes a plan to purchase $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities per month. The plan is meant to stimulate the economy, Sinclair said, and when projections are high for the economy, so are the gas prices.
"Whenever there's good financial news, it leads to speculative bidding in the price of crude oil going up," he said. "More economic activity means more people on the roads, which requires more crude oil."
Greenburgh's gas prices are too high for Lisa Lombardo, a Mercy College student, who said she usually waits to buy gas in Rockland County, where her mom lives, because the cost is lower.
Lombardo said she never fills her tank to the brim anymore, either, because she can't afford it -- only a few gallons at a time.
"I used to fill my gas tank once every two weeks. Now it's once every few days," she said. "It's too much."
An employee at the Shell Station on 433 Knollwood Road said though the Shell corporation fixes gas prices based on the station's location, they also do surveys of nearby stations frequently to make sure their prices are competitive, but still affordable.
But its prices are high compared to Greenburgh's other nearby gas stations: One mile away, the Gulf station, 212 Tarrytown Road, prices at $4.15 per gallon, about 25 cents cheaper than Shell's.
Sinclair said Greenburgh residents shouldn't expect a relief from gas prices anytime soon, but there are things vehicle owners can do to avoid an empty wallet.
"Maintenance on the car -- making sure the engine's working properly, tires are inflated and oil changes -- is important. Combine errands with the work commute. And slow down; as you go faster, the engine works harder," he said. "We really need to modify our habits so we consume less crude oil."