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Gas prices on the rise again

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A little over a week ago,it appeared prices at the pump were dropping by the day, with the price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline dropping to $3.62.

The relief was short. That same gallon of gallon of gas jumped up by 20 to 25 cents by the end of last week.

On Monday, the price per gallon at Sunoco on Canton Street, Ogdensburg, was $3.83. Across town at Stewart’s Shops, Ford Street, it was $3.85.

“It really has been a national spike,” GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan said Friday.

Mr. DeHaan said while the price of gas has risen all across the country, based on oil prices he doesn’t exactly understand why.

The price for a barrel of oil last week rose from $91 to $93.

Mr. DeHaan has a couple of theories for the price spike.

One theory was that refineries were doing their annual maintenance, which slows production, in anticipation of the spring and summer travel seasons. He said the price of gas also could be linked to the booming stock market, where the Dow Jones has now eclipsed 14,000 points.

“Some of the bullish sentiment may be spilling over into oil,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve seen the stock market this high, since at least 1997.”

He explained oil and gasoline are traded as commodities in a similar manner to stocks.

But there is one major difference.

“Unlike with stocks, where you get a piece of paper, with oil and gasoline you get the physical product, and there’s only so much available,” he said. “If everyone is buying into oil or gasoline for down the road, that affects our pocketbook.”

According to Gasbuddy.com, the national average Monday was $3.48 per gallon, which is 21 cents higher than this time last month and only 5 cents higher than it was at this time last year.

He said New York’s high gas prices could be attributed to a combination of higher taxes in New York and the tighter supply as a result of the closure of three refineries on the east coast last year.

At Nice-N-Easy, 1117 New York Ave, prices jumped from $3.79 Friday morning to $3.89. Monday prices dropped to $3.84, but Manager Jeffery W. Dollinger said he doesn’t predict prices will drop again anytime soon.

As of 2:30 p.m. Monday, a barrel of oil had gone down two cents, but that did not directly affect prices, he said.

Although the store sells gas at wholesale prices, Mr. Dollinger said he receives many complaints from customers about the price of gas.

“We hear it here at the end of the chain,” he said. “It’s a shame those at Wall Street can’t hear about it. I myself drive a full-size Chevy truck. It hurts to fill it up.”

Overall, higher gas prices hurt business, he said.

“When you only have an expendable income of $100 but you have to spend $60 or $70 on gas, you can’t spend money on a pizza or a 12-pack of beer,” he said. “It starts to nibble away at people’s extra cash.”

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