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Gas prices pumped up

Nick Graziano/contributing photographer

Brett Barnes of Cortland fills his Nissan Titan’s gas tank Tuesday afternoon. With rising gasoline prices, he said he fills the tank full each time to limit the number of times he has to fuel up each week. With a 26-gallon gasoline tank, it costs him about $67 to fill up.

Stephanie Kolowski spends an hour each way commuting to classes at SUNY Cortland. She lives in Brackney, Pennsylvania, and fills her Hyundai Accent around three times a week.

“Gas is 30 cents cheaper here,” Kolowski said. “It’s almost $3 in Pennsylvania.”

However, Kolowski isn’t too worried about the price; it’s her last semester at SUNY Cortland.

On Monday, the American Automobile Association reported gas prices nationwide were averaged around $2.638. On Tuesday, the price increased to $2.648.

In New York, the average price for a gallon of gas is $2.794, according to AAA. One month ago the average price for a gallon of gas was $2.481.

On Tuesday the lowest gas price in Cortland was recorded at Sunoco stations at 162 Tompkins and 52 Port Watson streets at $2.59 per gallon, according to gasbuddy.com. At the Sunoco station at 3947 Route 281, the price was $2.75, according to gasbuddy.com.

New York is feeling the ripple effect of the petroleum refineries shut down by Hurricane Harvey, said Elizabeth Carey, the public relations director for AAA.

Often with storms like Harvey, they are fast and they are furious and there is a big spike in prices, Carey said. Things don’t stay off-line too long. “However, a lot (of refineries) are still off-line.”

Also coming off Labor Day didn’t help. Travel was up, Carey said. Prices over the last week rose 30 cents.

At the Sunoco gas station at 162 Tompkins St., Brett Barnes of Cortland said he understands supply and demand. However, the gas prices are not great, especially for his 3 1/2-ton Nissan Titan pickup.

Barnes said the truck still gets better gas mileage than a Ford Super Duty he owned in 2008; he remembers gas prices were around $4.30 a gallon then. On Tuesday he paid $2.53 a gallon. “That’s still not bad,” he said.

To make up for the rising prices, Barnes said he makes sure to keep the gas tank full so he doesn’t have to fill up as often.
He also understands it’ll take time to get refineries in production again.

In the mean time he’ll continue to get his gas locally. “Cortland is cheaper,” Barnes said.

In Syracuse, prices were 20 cents more than those in Cortland, Barnes said. AAA reports the average price of gas in Syracuse is $2.711.

To help save on gas, Carey had a few suggestions:

* Check tire pressure. Make sure the tire pressure matches the manufacturer’s recommendations.

* Use cruise control on the highway.

* If the check engine light is on, get your car checked. An engine that runs smoother uses less gas, Carey said.

* Make sure the air filters are clean.

AAA is unsure how long prices will remain high, Carey said. Eyes are also turning to Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean. The latest National Weather Service predictions, while early, show it hitting Florida. It now has winds of 185 mph.

However, by mid-September prices should begin to decrease as refineries return to operation and begin to make winter blends of gas, Carey said.

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