Local gas prices are out of whack with country
Monday, December 13, 2010 - 12:22 pm

To the editor:

To my dismay, I visited my local Sunoco station on Friday, Dec. 3, and not having a lot of time, I opted to just get my coffee and go, choosing to fill my car later in the day when I had more time.

At 7:30 in the morning, gas at the Sunoco on Outer Market Street in Potsdam was $3.13 a gallon. At lunchtime, Stewart’s in Canton had increased the price to $3.19 and over the weekend the price has ballooned at area stations to $3.23 a gallon.

Our prices are significantly higher than the national average of $2.85, and a Northeast average of $3.009/ per gallon.

Why are our prices so much higher than both the national and northeast average? I asked one of the clerks at a local store why the price had jumped 10 cents in one day. I received a very long explanation of that as the price for a barrel of oil increases so does the price of a gallon of gasoline. She also tried to explain rudimentary supply/demand to me, but wasn’t successful, as it was the most backward explanation of the topic I have ever heard.

Essentially the price of a barrel of oil on the open commodities market did take a jump last week, to roughly $89 a barrel for delivery three months from now. So, in my analysis, if it takes three months for crude being traded today to appear at our local stations, why is that as crude increases so does the immediate price of gas?

This makes no sense, it would make sense three months from now for the price of gasoline to increase, as this reflects the price at delivery, but why the drastic ten cent increase for a commodity that isn’t even in our hands yet? Three months ago crude was trading at roughly $80-$83 a barrel which, by using my logic would mean that our fuel stations should be charging the real price of the crude delivered this week which was actually set three months ago.

So are these marked increases in fuel really necessary? Are we being charged too much by our local retailers? If so, what can we as average citizens do? Campaigns for Americans to not fuel their cars on certain days have failed miserably.

We also know that supply/demand have a lot to do with the price of fuel, what would happen if we as consumers instead of filling our cars each time put in the minimum required to keep our cars running? Would this impact the price? Would it draw attention to the problem of our citizenry being robbed blind by our local fuel suppliers?

As a middle class American, I know that I cannot continue to pay these outrageous prices when people from other parts of the country do not. Something must be done or the working poor and middle class citizens that keep our economy ticking will not be able to afford to go to work. If you are as outraged as I am, I urge you to contact your local representative on each level of government, it is time we the citizenry of Northern New York stop taking the brunt of unnecessary fuel hikes.

Brenda Thornton

Potsdam