Gasoline and diesel costs proceed sharp rise

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – New Yorkers are feeling the pain at the pump, as gas prices continue to climb.

Valerie Puma of the AAA of Western and Central New York said on Monday that the current state average is $4.52 a gallon, up 17 cents from last week.

Puma said diesel prices are over $6 a gallon, and diesel fuel prices have been higher than regular grade gasoline almost continuously since September 2004.

“This is due to high demand, the transition to less polluting lower sulfur diesel fuels, and the federal excise tax of 24.3 cents per gallon is six cents per gallon higher than the tax on regular gasoline,” said Puma.

In New York state, diesel is selling at an average of $6.38 a gallon, twice as much as a year ago.

High diesel fuel prices impact businesses that need to transport goods and those that have commercial vehicles like AAA. Nearly all of AAA Western and Central New York’s tow trucks rely on diesel fuel. “To say we’re feeling pain at the pump is an understatement,” said Steve Steinmetz, director of automotive service operations at AAA Western and Central New York. “Prices have literally doubled since last year impacting all towing companies across the state.”

Puma said that with the price of crude oil continuing to rise, high pump prices will likely follow.

She said that crude oil prices, currently around $110 dollars a barrel, rose after the European Union announced a proposal to ban Russian oil imports within six months, while refined product imports would be prohibited by the end of the year.

Puma said there are some countries are seeking more time to find alternatives to Russian oil.