A driver’s worst nightmare has officially become an ugly reality in the Bronx: gasoline prices have soared over $4.
The sight of the gas prices at the north and southbound Citgo gas stations along the Hutchinson River Parkway always made drivers cringe with its above average prices, but our worst fear became a harsh reality when the station’s prices hit an all-time high last week.
Oil prices began to climb due to problems in the Middle East and gasoline began to rise throughout the United States with a whopping 33 cent average increase during the last two weeks of February.
As of Wednesday, March 2, the national average was $3.38 per gallon of regular grade gas and the city average was $3.65, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.
At the Citgo stations on the Hutchinson River Parkway on the same day, the station owners jacked the price for all grades of gas over $4, with regular grade gas at $4.09, a staggering 71 cents over the national average.
The land on which the gas stations operate fromis owned by the New York City Parks Department, and according to Parks, the owners of the gas station signed a contract that they must keep the gas prices at the station similar to those of other gas stations within five miles of it.
“This is an absolute outrage, the closest gas station is by far less than five miles,” said Councilman Jimmy Vacca, who said the owners of the station claim that they are being charged too much to rent the location. “Nearby residents know that local stations don’t charge nearly as much and I feel bad for drivers who have no choice but to fill-up here because they are unfamiliar with the area.”
When asked why the prices are so high compared to nearby gas stations on E. Tremont Avenue, an angry employee declined to comment. According to Councilman Vacca, the station received a letter from the City Council questioning its high prices. It refused to lower the gas prices.
Many locals are familiar with how expensive these two gas stations have been over the years and say that they never fill-up their cars there unless they really have to, which Throggs Neck resident Elena Penta says never happens for her and her neighbors.
“It’s very disheartening to know that this gas station is taking advantage of motorists by raising the prices as high as they have gone,” Penta said. “Regardless of their location, prices should be comparable to others, not overpriced. I have seen other highway gas stations a little bit more expensive, but not like this one, they are always way higher.”
According to Vacca, the Parks Department is investigating the astounding price hike and not yet determined its course of action.