October 23, 2021

With cost of gas on the rise, motorists take issue

Jamie Costa/staff reporter

Cameron Landon, of Cortland, puts gas in his vehicle Saturday at the Sunoco station on Route 222 in Cortlandville. Gas prices went up 6 cents per gallon last week and 5 cents the week before that. Prices are expected to rise even further.

Cameron Landon of Cortland wasn’t entirely pleased as he filled his tank Saturday at a Sunoco station on Route 222 in Cortlandville.

For two gallons of gas, he paid $5.

Gasoline prices rose 6 cents a gallon last week to a typical $2.54 a gallon in the Syracuse market, the American Automobile Association reports. And that’s up 5 cents a gallon from the week before. Nationwide, the federal Energy Information Administration expects an average of $2.44 a gallon through the year.

“It doesn’t impact me really,” Landon said. “I don’t go places very often and I have a fairly efficient car, but $5 for two gallons of gas is absolutely ridiculous.”

The prices rose as Saudi Arabia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries announced in January it would cut production by 1 million barrels of oil a day in February and March, and as the world used 93.9 million barrels a day, the Energy Information Administration reports.

Reduced economic activity because of the coronavirus pandemic has reduced demand, the administration said, and will continue to affect demand for months.

Landon was putting gas in his vehicle for the first time in three weeks. His father, who drives a truck, has opted to take the family car over his own vehicle, instead, to avoid high gas prices.

“Normally gas is a bit lower,” Landon said, adding the prices he’s seen across Cortland County are closer to their typical summer levels. “It hops back up when everyone is traveling.”

The U.S. gross domestic product declined 3.6% in 2020 from 2019, but the federal short-term energy outlook predicts the GDP will grow 3.8% in 2021 and 4.2.% in 2022. That would suggest gas prices should return to pre-pandemic levels this year.

“I did notice the gas prices recently,” said Kayla Eaton of Cortland, who commutes daily to Ithaca for work. “I have found myself sometimes having to budget for gas.”

In 2014, Eaton said, prices rose above $3, making it difficult for commuters and travelers.

“It’s crazy that it’s going back up and I’m surprised by it,” Eaton said. “Not a lot of people are traveling due to COVID so I’m really surprised.”