November 26, 2021

To fill or not to fill

Gas prices up 50% to highest prices since 2014

Valerie Puma/staff reporter

SUNY Cortland student Aidan Mayglothling, of Massapequa, gasses up his car Tuesday on Tompkins Street in Cortland. Gas prices have jumped 22 cents a gallon in the past month and 7 cents since last week. That means fewer trips home for Mayglothing and re-budgeting his weekly expenses.

The rising price of gas — among the highest prices since 2014 — means Aidan Mayglothing doesn’t go home as much. It’s too expensive.

Mayglothling, a SUNY Cortland sophomore from Massapequa, said the spike in fuel price, up 50% in the past year, has deterred him from making the 250-mile trip.

“The last time I went home was Oct. 14, and that was the first time back since I came up here,” Mayglothing said Tuesday as he filled his tank at a Tompkins Street gas station. A trip home to visit his parents is nearly five hours of driving — 250 miles one-way.

Mayglothling said he used to pay less than $20 to fill up the tank of his sedan; now it’s more than $30.

The average price for a gallon of regular gas in the Ithaca metropolitan area is now $3.501 per gallon, reports the American Automobile Association, up more than 7 cents in the past week and 22 cents from one month ago.

“I’ve been more conscious about what I’m spending my money on,” Mayglothling said. “This is definitely not something I can avoid — I’ve gotta put gas in my car.”

A year ago, residents in the Ithaca-Cortland combined statistical area paid $2.18 for a gallon of regular gas, AAA reports. As of Oct. 26, the national average was up to $3.40 and New York state’s average is just under $3.54.

“We can expect gas prices to continue rising as long as the cost of crude continues to rise, alongside gas demand,” said AAA representative April Engram. “There is no exact end date — it will depend on how supply and demand fare over the coming weeks and months. And the ceiling for price increases will depend on how expensive oil gets.”

According to the Energy Information Administration, total domestic gasoline stocks decreased while gasoline demand increased.

“With the U.S. economy recovering from the pandemic, demand for gas has gone up, but supply is tight,” Engram said.

Worldwide oil consumption is expected to be 95.9 million barrels a day this year, while consumption is projected at 97.5 million barrels a day, the Energy Information Administration reports.

Another thing to always keep in mind for gasoline price fluctuation is geography, Engram said. A key factor in pricing is the distance the gasoline has to travel from the supply pipeline.

“And with a shortage of drivers, gas stations may be accounting for higher transportation costs,” Engram said. “Also, retail gasoline prices tend to be higher the farther the source of supply is from where gasoline is sold because transportation costs increase when the distance from the source of gasoline supply increases.”

Engram warns that as the crude oil prices remain high, experts anticipate gas prices will continue to rise in the weeks ahead.

“Higher demand coupled with a decline in stocks, alongside elevated crude prices, has put upward market pressure on pump prices,” Engram said.