Texas deep freeze continues to drive gas prices higher

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BUFFALO — The cost of gasoline kept climbing in New York with the average price of a gallon of gas climbing 9 cents from last week. Statewide, the average reached $2.78 per gallon, some 27 cents higher than a month ago and 19 cents higher than a year ago. New York’s average gas price is 6 cents higher than the national average.

Prices in the Utica-Rome area are even higher. Locally, the average cost per gallon was $2.84, according to AAA. The latest price jumps are a direct result of February’s winter storm that took 26 U.S. refineries offline and pushed refinery utilization from an average of about 83% down to an atypical low of 68%, according to the Energy Information Administration.

AAA forecasts the national gas price average to hit at least $2.80 in March. For motorists, that means they can expect continued increases of at least 5–10 cents locally until refinery operations are stable.

“Barring hurricane season, March may bring the most expensive pump prices of 2021,” said Patti Artessa, AAA Northeast Regional Director of Public and Government Affairs. 

“While the month is roaring in like a lion, by the end of it we could see some relief at the pump as refineries resume normal operations, especially if crude oil prices show signs of stability,” she added.

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