Rising gas prices drive home variety of responses in region

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As gasoline prices at some local stations are topping $5 at the pump, drivers in Central New York — as well as some state officials — are tiring of rising prices as well as looking for ways to pinch pennies at the pump.

On Tuesday, with gas prices already over the $5 tipping point experts say will drive some motorists to change their driving habits — area residents chatted on social media with a Daily Sentinel reporter.

“... Everything we consume is delivered gas or diesel. Every time the price goes up, the price of commodities goes up,” wrote Rob Winchell on Facebook. “Eventually people will not be able to afford anything. It is going to affect the cost of heating your home this winter. Many can barely afford it now. …”

“... Despite the uproarious consternation, people must not mind all that much. If they did they’d be driving less or staying closer to the speed limit or other things to try to use less gas,” wrote Ryan Kodak-Weaver on Facebook. “Personally, I’d like to see the price go higher. High enough that demand subsides and it prompts political changes that lead to a reduction in reliance on fossil fuels.”

“It’s also odd to me that there seems to be little connection made among the general public between the high gas prices and the record profits being raked in by the oil companies,” Kozak-Weaver added.

In other comments, Chase Stoffle, added “Roughly 100 years ago the nation went on a mission to bust up some trust…think that mentality is needed now and perhaps even more urgently than then. … Record breaking profits while having record breaking prices? Hmmmm.”

For those looking to get some extra miles out of each tank — or save money while filling up, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection has some tips and advice for how to pinch every last penny at the gas pump.

The high gas prices aren’t going away anytime soon, and definitely not in time for the summer travel season. In an effort to save money, drivers may be trying to carpool, switch to mass transit or purchase a new automobile with better gas mileage. However, DCP realizes that many consumers lack carpooling options, are unable to utilize mass transit, or cannot afford to purchase a new car.  

“After being stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are looking forward to traveling this summer, but we are facing sky-high gas prices,” said New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez.

“These tips, along with Governor (Kathy) Hochul’s tax suspension, will work to help New Yorkers save at the gas pump.” 

Tips for the gas pump:

  • Wait until your gas gauge reads a quarter tank before filling up in warmer weather. Your vehicle gets better gas mileage with a lighter load and keeping the tank full can waste money.
  • Choose the lowest octane recommended for your car.
  • Compare the price advertised on the gas station’s sign and on the pump to make sure they are the same. If not, ask which price is the one you would actually be paying.
  • Double check that the price per gallon remains the same throughout the entire time you are pumping. Be aware if the price per gallon changes or the number turns back or advances quickly.
  • Make sure that the gas pump reads $0 before you begin fueling and stops running when you finish pumping, so you know you are only paying for the gas being dispensed into your vehicle.
  • Know the size of your gas tank and how many gallons of gasoline it holds so you can make sure you are getting what you are paying for at the pump.
  • Ask your gas station if they have different prices for payment in cash or credit. Some stations offer gas at several cents less per gallon if you pay in cash.
  • Use a gas price tracking app to compare prices at local gas stations and try to use a station that is on your route so you aren’t driving extra miles. Driving out of your way to save money at the pump may not save you anything.
  • Avoid filling up right before a holiday or weekend when gas prices tend to be higher.
  • Watch out or scams. Scam artists prey on desperate consumers during difficult economic times or when certain commodities become difficult to obtain or ultra-expensive. Approach alleged fuel saving programs, devices, or chemicals with skepticism. Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Tips for the road:

  • Cut back on needless driving around. Make lists of errands and try to have them all in similar locations.
  • Maintain your vehicle in good condition. Your vehicle will get better gas mileage if you have the oil changed and tire pressure checked regularly. Get a tune-up from a certified mechanic.
  • Clean out your vehicle and carry only what is necessary. Extra weight in your car lowers your gas mileage. Consider removing roof racks and towing devices mounted on the outside of the vehicle when not in use.
  • Change your driving habits. Your vehicle will get better gas mileage if you do not accelerate fast or overuse your brakes, commonly referred to as “riding your brakes.” To save gas, stay at or under the speed limit, and drive at a consistent rate of speed. Consider using cruise control when practicable, and do not idle your car in a parking lot or driveway.
  • Consult maps, internet directions or a GPS system to ensure you are taking the most efficient route and reduce the likelihood of getting lost and driving unnecessary miles. 

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection provides voluntary mediation between a consumer and a business when a consumer has been unsuccessful at reaching a resolution on their own. The Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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