Not to beat a dead horse but this is really out of hand. Since I've moved to KY six years ago, NY's gasoline prices have always hovered about $.25 more per gallon. OK fine. But now with the prices falling rapidly in many other states(bought gasoline the other day in Louisville, KY for $1.99) NY just keeps the screwing turned on. My parents said their gasoline in upstate is running around $2.65/gallon. $.66/gallon more? Good grief. The state loves to keep the price up-more money for NY and more to be wasted. Upstate's economy is shot, the area is seeing a population decrease(has been for at least 10 years), and the state keeps jackin folks with higher taxes. I don't get it. Take a drive south, look how the southern states are progressing. Even neighboring states. Folks of NY need to take a flame thrower to Albany. Here's an example. Few years ago Tennessee government was trying to introduce a state tax(they currently have NO state income tax and NO sales tax). People showed up in droves at the capital the leading hours of the decision and were freaking out. Result, they dropped it. And if you didn't know it, the state is doing very well economically. Yes the roads are well taken care of. Yes the schools are getting better and better. But that's just a scratch of the big picture. BTW, NY's schools aren't number one in nation anymore either but you'd think so looking at the property tax they whale on people. The answer of well they're(each state) going to get it from you one way or another is FALSE. Example: Onieda county(Utica, NY area)9.8% sales tax(Louisville's 6%)! 1% higher state income tax(for my pay rate)from where I live, Thruway tolls, gasoline prices, approximately 2.5 times more property tax than what I'm paying now. Yes the state needs $$$$ to run but NY's super shop vac needs to be shut down. If you haven't, take that drive to Atlanta and back. Then call your congress man and tell him *%@! Better yet, get the flame thrower. NY=too much government. Period.
Whew. feeling better after my rant. Just pi%$es me off to see that state I grew up and love go down the drain taking it's people with it while others get payed off.
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WNY's gas price blues
Tax burden, distribution limitations prevent declines from matching those found in comparable metro areas
By MATT GLYNN
News Business Reporter
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Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News
Jay Ciamaga, owner of Edward's Service on Harlem Road in Cheektowaga, displays his famous "arm" and "leg" signs, posted when gas prices reach dizzying heights. Ciamaga said customers are tickled prices have fallen but remain wary, believing they will climb after Election Day.
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Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News
Dave Sobczak of Cheektowaga pumps gasoline at Edward's Service on Harlem Road.
Gasoline prices are falling in Buffalo Niagara, but not as much or as quickly as in some other metro areas.
The AAA of Western and Central New York reported Tuesday an average price in the region of $2.68 per gallon, down 34 cents from a month earlier.
That's the good news.
While motorists pay about the same amount in Syracuse and Rochester, some cities often compared to Buffalo boast lower average prices - $2.12 per gallon in the Cleveland area and $2.36 in Pittsburgh, according to AAA data.
That might make local motorists fume, but economists and experts say pointing to a single cause is difficult. They cite regional variations that influence prices.
New York state's higher gasoline taxes - the third-highest combined amount in the nation - account for much of the gap.
In Erie County, the $2.68 per gallon gasoline price includes about 44 cents in state and local taxes, according to the state Department of Taxation and Finance. The federal excise tax of about 18 cents brings the total tax per gallon to about 62 cents.
New York State trails only Connecticut and California in combined taxes per gallon, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Taxes per gallon total about 46 cents in Ohio and about 50 cents in Pennsylvania, the organization said.
New York also imposes many regulations on operators, which adds to the retail price of fuel, said Larry Southwick Jr., professor emeritus at the University at Buffalo.
"When you put on this regulatory burden, the chickens come home to roost," he said.
Taxes make lowering gasoline prices in the Buffalo area to the level of other markets difficult, or even impossible.
But why are prices falling faster in some other places?
In the past month, the average price fell 19 percent in Cleveland and 17 percent in Pittsburgh, but only 11 percent in the Buffalo area.
Even the national average has dropped more quickly, by 17 percent, to $2.36 per gallon. Gas taxes, most of which are fixed costs, don't explain the differences in rates of decline.
Frustrated drivers may suspect a conspiracy, but experts say economics is the culprit.
The regional nature of the gasoline industry contributes to the price fluctuations, said Michael Davis, an economist with the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business.
Not everyone buys their products from the same source. "The refined product comes from different places, with different regulations, different rules," Davis said.
Prices at the retail end, he said, reflect both the conditions in the refining market and local competition conditions. "Retailers aren't doing anything wrong, but they want to maintain the highest margin they can get," Davis said.
For Jay Ciamaga at Edward's Service on Harlem Road in Cheektowaga, that's not much.
"We make 2 cents, 3 cents a gallon," Ciamaga said. Taxes eat up much of the profit on gasoline sales, he said.
Michael Burdett, a senior analyst with the U.S. Energy Information Administration, also says regional differences influence how quickly prices fall from region to region.
Prices are falling fastest in the Midwest, which has an abundance and diversity of supply from such sources as pipelines and local refineries, Burdett said.
Those conditions foster greater competition on price. "When prices are going down, if you have access to more product, you'll try to undercut your neighbor to get more market share," Burdett said.
The costs of shipping oil for refining and then bringing the gasoline here also get passed along, Southwick said.
Michael Newman, executive vice president of NOCO Energy Corp., said taxes keep gas prices high in this state, but the region also lacks the distribution options of some other areas.
Nationally, pump prices have fallen in part because of the end of the "summer driving season," a cooling in international tensions and a relatively quiet hurricane season, said Wally Smith, vice president of the AAA of Western and Central New York.
At Edward's Service, Ciamaga said customers are pleased to see pump prices falling, but fear they will start to climb again after Election Day.
While the recent drop in gasoline prices has led to speculation that oil companies might be pushing prices down to prevent a backlash against Republicans in the November election, statistics show no historical pattern of huge election-year drops.
Gasoline prices actually increased between late July and late September in four of the last seven federal election years, including 2006, according to the Energy Information Administration.
The median gas-price increase in those election years was 0.9 percent, compared with 3.6 percent in the seven odd-numbered years, when federal offices were not on the ballot.