GREENBURGH, N.Y. — It was a short-lived triumph for Greenburgh motorists who enjoyed falling gas prices in early December.
Now, a diminished fuel supply and cold weather means that Greenburgh residents will not enjoy much relief at the pump as prices continue to soar.
Average gas prices in the state have risen 15 cents in the past week, according to AAA. As of Friday afternoon, motorists in New York were paying an average of $3.91 per gallon for regular, the second highest in the continental United States – behind California’s $3.99.
Robert Sinclair, the spokesperson for AAA New York, said prices will continue to rise as the Port Reading Refinery in Woodbridge, N.J., is set to shut down at the end of the month. The refinery ships 70,000 barrels of oil each day, about 7.5 percent of what is consumed in the Northeast.
“With the refinery going down, it’ll be up to the other guys to make up the difference, or we’ll have that much less volume,” Sinclair said. “What’s left will become more expensive. It’s a pretty big hit, taking that amount of a commodity off the market.”
In Greenburgh, the cheapest regular gas Friday afternoon was $3.83 per gallon at the Gulf station in Hartsdale, 245 S. Central Ave., according to New York Gas Prices . The least expensive premium gas was at the Gulf station in Greenburgh, at Tarrytown Road and Hillside Avenue, for $4.15 per gallon.
The prices are frustrating to Greenburgh resident Nicole Hazelwood, who said she doesn't even fill her car's tank completely anymore.
"It's a struggle. I usually just put in $20 to get me where I need to go," Hazelwood said. "I would take public transportation if I didn't need my car for my job."
Rising costs are especially difficult for White Plains resident Bernard Phillips, who has to commute to Staten Island every day for work. Phillips said he doesn't understand why he's seeing prices on the rise again, since the economy has been getting better.
"There's just no need for it," said Phillips, as he gassed his car Friday morning at the Shell station on Knollwood Road.
Adding fuel to the fire is the cold weather, which has created a competition between home heating oil and oil for gasoline, Sinclair said. Additionally, in mid-March, gas stations will switch to a summer blend of gasoline, which is more eco-friendly for the busier driving season.
Between the switch in blends and the extended cold spell in the East Coast, the cost probably will continue to rise, Sinclair said.
“The colder it gets, there is a greater demand for home heating oil, which competes with gasoline for available crude oil,” he said. “We won’t see relief anytime soon."