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Gas prices edge up ahead of holiday weekend

After several weeks of retreating gas prices, motorists will pay slightly more at the pumps over the Labor Day weekend.

GasBuddy.com reported this week Rochester area drivers were paying $2.27 a gallon, up from $2.22 a gallon a week ago. Rochesterians continue to pay more for a gallon of gas than their counterparts nationwide. Nationally, the average price for a gallon of gas was $2.21 on Monday.

“As the summer driving season wraps up, gasoline prices have risen for 14 consecutive days, thanks in large part to a late-summer rally in oil markets, driven by OPEC threats,” GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said. “While some tropical disturbances may lead gas prices to continue rising slightly ahead of Labor Day weekend, relief will be felt across every single state over the next few weeks as gasoline demand drops and cheaper winter gas begins flowing in mid-September.”

GasBuddy, AAA Western and Central New York and the U.S. Energy Information Administration have reported gas prices ahead of the holiday weekend have dipped to their lowest point in a dozen years for this time of year.

A year ago, gas prices in Rochester stood at $2.55 a gallon, while in 2014 motorists here paid $3.63 a gallon.

In Buffalo this week gas prices averaged $2.27 a gallon, while drivers in Syracuse paid $2.22 a gallon.

AAA predicts Labor Day travel will increase this year, noting last year 35.5 million Americans traveled 50 or more miles during the holiday weekend. A recent survey by AAA reports 55 percent of Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip this year due to lower gas prices.

“AAA expects Labor Day weekend to be very busy this year,” said Tony Spada, AAA Western and Central New York president and CEO. “Gas prices remain relatively low and have fueled a large increase in summer travel and road trips.”

The top five destinations for western and central New York drivers this weekend are the Finger Lakes, New York City and the Adirondacks; parts of Pennsylvania; Orlando, Fla.; North Carolina; and Virginia, AAA reported.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that overall, since the second quarter of 2014 lower global demand expectations and looser supply have held oil prices down, but that trend has been reversing since the end of the first quarter this year.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that since 1945 the U.S. product supplied of finished motor gasoline has been on a steady incline, from 1.3 million barrels per day in January 1945 to 9.66 million barrels per day in June this year, a record for any month.

“High gasoline production is leading to motor fuel inventories that are the highest on record for this time of year, which is helping to keep prices down at the pump,” EIA administrator Adam Sieminski said.

(c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.


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