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Gas prices skyrocket in Bronx

Bronx Times
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Bronxites keep digging - and digging - even deeper at the gas pump these days.

Even after Labor Day, skyrocketing gas prices continue to blanket the predominantly blue-collar borough.

Most pumps around the borough this week were pumping regular at $4.15 (and a sneaky 9/10ths) a gallon. And a few were charging even more outrageous prices.

But gasbuddy.com was a bit behind, saying locals were forced to deal with an average price of $4.11 a gallon of regular gas, about 30 cents higher than the national average.

The price is draining for Tito Rivera’s bottom line. A City Island-based tow truck driver, Rivera filled up at the Sunoco station at 410 City Island Avenue.

“Work wise it hurts,” explained Rivera. “The little extra change you put in your tank could pay for your breakfast.”

Rivera is often forced to tack on extra costs to customers to make up for the revenue going towards gas.

But the steepest prices can be found at a Citgo station resting on both sides of the Hutchinson River Parkway by the Whitestone Bridge. There, drivers can’t deal with nearly $5 a gallon gas.

On a visit there, most of the customers were out-of-towners on the parkway’s southbound side, walloped by the sticker price at the Citgo station.

“It’s all about convenience,” said Jessica Kastner, a Connecticut resident filled up a portion of her tank before heading into Queens.

But getting gas at a Gulf at 2007 Williamsbridge Road in Morris Park will ease your wallet worries some, with a gallon of regular going for $4.03.

According to gasbuddy.com, New York State and the west coast have the highest gas prices in the nation, with the national average at around 3.87 a gallon.

This was almost as high as the previous record at about $4.12 nationally set during the summer of 2008. As the economy tanked at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009, so did gas prices, which bottomed out at about $1.61 nationally.

But there has been a slow and steady rise ever since, especially in late 2010. During this time, gas prices in New York have been consistently higher than the national average.

Sajjad Yaqub, who was manning the counter at the Shell station on Bruckner Boulevard and Brook Avenue in Mott Haven, said he couldn’t believe the price spikes when the station got their weekly delivery from their distributor.

“A couple of weeks ago, it jumped 18 cents. I had to call my distributor and ask, ‘Are you sure that’s the right price?’”

His station sits between a Hess station just down the boulevard, which was matching his $4.15 and 9/10ths price, and a Gulf up at the exit off the Willis Avenue Bridge, where motorists had to eat $4.29 a gallon to fill up.

“A lot of motorist buy $5 to $10 gas here,” he said, “then they drive to New Jersey to fill up.”

The high cost of gas is linked with the complicated cost of war in the Middle East, where civil unrest continues in Syria and Lybia. The two nations are major exporters of crude oil, the raw material used for gas.

But refineries have limited their production because of the turmoil, causing gas prices to jump, according to Monroe College economics professor Deve Rawana.

He noted that behind the low exports is global demand, mainly from countries China and India.

“China and India never used a lot of oil until the last 10 years,” said Rawana. “They’re demand is rising up each year.”

But Rawana warns that until an alternative source hits mainstream Bronx, locals will have to bear the brunt of high gas prices.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383
Posted 12:00 am, September 21, 2012
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