Updated 02/08/2012 03:13 PM
Prices at the pump surge
It’s costing even more to fill up your gas tank. The price of gas continues to rise. We are paying a noticeable increase versus last month and it appears prices aren't going to fall anytime soon. Our Megan Cruz has more.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- "They're ridiculous," said Albany resident David Richburg.
"Horrible! Can't believe they're going up again!" said Saranac Lake resident Clay Saubie.
"I'd hate to see them get to the $4 bracket," said John Sobota, from Scotia.
There's no question about it, gas prices are on the rise. In Albany, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge report, the average price for a gallon of regular gas on Wednesday was $3.74. A month ago, it said the average was $3.57. Question then is why?
"We're at the mercy of OPEC and the government," said Richburg.
"It seems like every winter the gas and fuel prices go up," said Saubie.
"Supply and demand is all I know," said Sobota.
Local experts say it's a combination of all of that, particularly the latter.
"We are moving generally towards higher prices because the world economy, particularly the American economy, is starting to get better," said Steven Leibo, International Studies Professor at Sage Colleges.
"World demand is going up, and our own habits. If we're willing to pay $4 a gallon, then maybe shame on us a little bit," said Mac Brownson, the president of the Albany chapter of the NY Gasoline Retailers Association.
But people say they're not willing. They just have no choice. Especially when they live in remote areas like Saranac Lake.
"We don't have train stations and buses that bring us to work," said Saubie.
But some say we do have a choice, and it's the right one.
"I think higher gas prices are the only way people are going to realize we need to make that conversion to a more efficient economy," said Slingerlands resident Julie Niedzialkowski.
"That's the only thing individuals can do, is get a fuel efficient car," said Leibo.
Leibo says the other factors that increase prices are things much harder to control.
"Economies jumping up and down, Middle East producers are more and more volatile, a changing climate which impacts how much oil we use to heat ourselves or drive," he said.
But Brownson says Uncle Sam can help out.
"At some point, there has to be an effort to look at regulating," said Browson. "That's the gorilla in the room. The government can regulate energy like they do electric energy."
Locally, he says, the state Legislature should cut consumers a break. Right now, people pay about $.70 worth of taxes on gas.
"Jersey has no state tax at all on gas. No sales tax, no gross receipts, no excise tax, nothing," said Brownson.
Unfortunately for drivers, both Brownson and Leibo say prices are likely to continue climbing, so people say they're forced to find their own relief at the pumps.
"I'll have to consolidate trips, think about do I really need to go this place or that place," said Sobota.
"The next car I buy will be a much more efficient car," said Niedzialkowski.