Filling your tank is costing a lot these days. In New York City the average is $4.26 a gallon, but it goes much higher, even as high as $4.87 in Manhattan. That’s according to the Web site Newyorkgaswatch.com. But yesterday, the market saw a drop in crude oil, which leaves some people speculating as to whether the gas price may finally fall. Anna Maria Jakubek reports.
It’s early morning and the Lukoil gas station by the Highline, at W. 24th St and Broadway in Manhattan, is busy. The price per gallon there is $4.23, which is about average for New York. It’s not the highest price in the city, but customers are still upset.
Lukoil manager Atul Puri says that this is the kind of thing he’s been hearing. He’s definitely feeling the heat.
“There are a lot of people out there who say this is the ending point, you know. $4:20, $4.50 is the maximum they can go,” he said.
Sammy Megolly has been a cab driver since 1987. He saves on gas money because he drives a hybrid – but the cost is still too high for him. He’s hopeful that yesterday’s drop in crude oil price will translate into cheaper gas.
“I saw the oil prices are coming down, which is a good sign. But I don’t know if it’s keep coming down or just for temporary coming down or start to go back higher again. I don’t know.”
Megolly plans to come back in a few days to fill his tank; for now, he’s just pumping enough to get by.
“I just put $20 which will enough for me to finish my shift. Maybe tomorrow will be cheaper. I’m sure it’s going to be cheaper.” said Megolly.
Part of the uncertainty here has to do with the fact that changes in crude oil price don’t immediately transfer over to gas pump price. Lars Perner is an assistant professor of consumer behavior at the University of Southern California and he’s written a lot about fuel.
“There’s a lag between the time that the crude oil is produced and shipped off and the time that it comes out from the refineries,” he said.
Perner’s personal view is that even if gas prices do go down in the coming weeks, they won’t stay that way.
“That’s probably too early to tell. In the long run, I expect they probably would go up, due to the demand from India and China, but you know, that’s possibly several months down the road.”
For now, if the downward trend continues, it could come just in time for memorial weekend and the beginning of summer driving. Anna Maria Jakubek, Columbia Radio News.