The cost for motorists and companies alike has been climbing without break since mid-September.
Higher gasoline prices at the pump are taking a toll on local businesses.
Large firms and small shops alike say the increased costs are affecting the bottom line.
“It’s terrible,” said Rob Nelson, owner of Nelson Electric in Canandaigua, which sells electrical supplies. “Our inbound and outbound freight costs a lot more. Your raw materials — anything made from petroleum — costs more.”
Upstate’s prices are higher than downstate’s. Prices posted early this month showed upstate’s average price for a gallon of gas was $3.19, compared with downstate’s $3.02 and $3.10 statewide, according to the New York Energy Information Administration.
At many local gas stations, the price is now around $3.30 a gallon.
The statewide figure represents a price increase of nearly 33 percent from the same period last year. Likewise, upstate’s average early this month of $3.19 is up 33 percent from $2.39 in 2006. Prices have increased every week since the week of Sept. 17, when a gallon of gas in upstate was $2.88.
Crude oil that was $55 a barrel in January was more than $95 per barrel earlier this month. Heating oil for homes jumped more than 15 cents recently, to $3.11, up more than 72 cents from last November.
The federal agency says supply and demand — strong world economic growth, moderate growth in the oil and busy factories — are key factors. Tight global oil inventories, bottlenecks at refineries and “geopolitical risks and concerns about supply availability” (i.e. the war in Iraq) are also responsible.
China, the Middle East and the United States drive consumption growth. China and the United States are projected to account for half the world’s oil consumption this year and next. The decline in the value of the dollar against other currencies supports oil consumption in foreign countries, since oil is traded in dollars. The declining dollar also makes the increase in oil prices less severe in foreign currencies.
The price of diesel has shot up, too. Leonard’s Express, Farmington-based transportation providers, says the national average for diesel is $3.30 — up 15 cents from last month.
“Obviously our costs go up, and we have to adjust our prices to our customers,” said Ken Johnson, vice president of Leonard’s Express. “It certainly affects our bottom line.”
Johnson’s company has 40 trucks and an additional 50 independent-contractor truckers.
“Most of our customers are retail stores and grocery stores,” Johnson said. “I’m sure they’re having to charge more, too. It affects the end-user.”
Contact Billie Owens at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 320, or at email@example.com