Despite turmoil in the Middle East, area motorists saw gas prices decline during the week, several sources said. The drop is also reflected in the American Automobile Association’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
“Right now we are seeing prices down slightly, but we are always watching,” Stewart’s Shops spokeswoman Maria D’Amelia said Friday. The Saratoga Springs-based company’s stores are averaging $3.75 for a gallon of regular, she said.
The price reflects a 4 cent decline compared to last week. The price last year was $3.80. A check at the Oneonta Stewart’s found the price was $3.65 a gallon.
The national price Friday was $3.54, according to the AAA. A week ago it was $3.577, and the price was $3.71 per gallon of regular on this day last year.
One of the biggest factors in pricing is supply and demand, D’Amelia said. Right now, the stores are not seeing as much travel as is usual for this time of year, and the economy could be a factor in that, she said.
There is also a fear that events in the Middle East could change the pricing trend. Of all oil from the Middle East, 30 percent travels through Egypt’s Suez Canal, so if problems in that country continue, it could have an impact with supplies.
The price at the Oneonta Country Store on Friday was $3.67. An employee there said the price is down at least 5 cents during the week. The store is operated by Verona Oil, which is headquartered in Roscoe.
Company CEO Craig Verona said although his company has had a 10 cent increase in the wholesale price of gasoline, the need to stay competitive doesn’t always allow him to pass those costs to the consumer.
“There is no shortage of fuel but it (the price) is affected by every little thing. It just never ends,” he said. Those “things” include events across the Middle East and the summer driving season, which continues through Labor Day.
“It changes every day,” he said.
An employee at the Hess shop in Oneonta said the Friday price of $3.69 was more than five cents below what it was a week ago.
At Red Apple in Unadilla, store manager Will Serrano said the price was $3.72. That was a 7 cent drop from what it had been Monday morning.
Serrano said the price is set by the corporate office in Warren, Pa. He tells them what price the competition is charging and they tell him who to match, he said.