Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 25, 2013

PAIN AT THE PUMP

Niagara Gazette — If you ask someone about the price of a head of lettuce, a gallon of milk or a block of cheese, you'll likely be met with a blank stare. If you ask someone about the price of gas, however, you're sure to get an opinion on costs that seem to only be going up.

A gallon of gas now costs between $3.84 and $4.08 in Western New York, with prices changing daily. Conversely, the national average for a gallon of gas is $3.67. 

So why are prices higher here?

Local experts say New York's tax structure has a lot to do with it. 

"When you look at New York state as a whole, taxes are the big reason," explains Steve Pacer, a public affairs specialist for AAA of Western and Central New York. "Only an handful of states have sales tax on top of (federal) gasoline tax."

Indeed, New York's combined state, federal, and local taxes add up to 69.7 cents per gallon, the highest in the nation. That's why travelers often see lower prices in the neighboring states of Pennsylvania or New Jersey. Combined with tensions in the oil-rich Middle East, severe weather and problems at U.S. refineries, it can be a big headache for the traveling public--and they're not the only ones.

"We don't like to see high gas prices either," said Dale Wittlief, Vice President of Fuel and Purchasing for Delta Sonic. Wittlief says that credit card companies charge interchange fees and can even make more money per gallon than the gas station itself. For that reason, some gas stations charge less if you pay with cash or a debit card. "It does help us when customers do use cash, it allows us to be competitive," he says.

Though the price of fuel is high now, Pacer is confident that it will start falling soon. 

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
Poll

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results