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Buffalo Gas Prices Climb While National Average Drops

9:38 AM, Oct 7, 2012   |    comments
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Gas prices in Downtown Buffalo.

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Many of you have asked us to continue looking into rising gas prices in Western New York, especially because prices are falling around the rest of the country.

Prices at the pump have now climbed to a record-high for this time of year. The average Friday in Buffalo was $4.11 for a gallon of regular, 16 cents more than a month ago, and 40 cents more than a year ago.

New York typically has higher prices than the national average, because we have higher taxes. But that's not the issue here.

Right now, the national average for a gallon of gasoline is slowly dropping, but in Buffalo, the average continues to climb. We even spotted a gas station in downtown Buffalo charging $4.32 per gallon.

We asked a national petroleum analyst if he could explain what is happening here.

"Without a doubt, East Coast refineries have been operating at the lowest level of any major region in the country, and I think that may have something to do with the lag time or the delay at which you're seeing these prices come down," said Gregg Laskoski of GasBuddy.com.

Laskoski also pointed to distribution slow-downs in the Great Lakes region.

Congressman Brian Higgins, who has long complained about irregularities in Western New York gas prices, said he will ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the disparity.

REPORTER: Has it been your sense over the last few years that there has been some market manipulation?

HIGGINS: Well, look, it's a complicated process of both the production of oil, the refining of oil, the distribution of gasoline. And everybody seems to point fingers at everyone else as to why the price of gasoline is so high.

"If there is any good news in Buffalo it's that you're not in California," Laskoski said.

In California, gas shortages have caused some stations to run out of gas. The stations that still have gasoline are charging as much as $5.70 per gallon. The spike is the result of a combination of the state's strict pollution limits and an unexpected drop in supply there.

Laskoski predicts that, barring any unforeseen events, local gas prices should start to slowly fall during the next two weeks, adding that, by the end of the year, local prices could be 30 cents lower than the current price of $4.11.

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