Long Island gasoline prices inched up by another 3 cents a gallon last week as the nationwide average hit the $3 mark on Christmas Eve for the first time, according to the AAA.
Regular averaged $3.342 a gallon in Nassau and Suffolk on Thursday, up from $3.313 a week earlier, according to a survey of gas stations done for the group. The current Long Island average is 49 cents higher than a year ago, and 15 cents higher than a month ago.
Gas prices, which normally decline at the end of the year, have been rising instead thanks to high crude oil prices and increased foreign demand, analysts said.
Tom Kloza, oil analyst for Oil Price Information Service in Wall, N.J., said, “This was driven by crude oil prices ending the year as high as they’ve been since October 2008. It’s also driven by the perception that next year is going to be a robust year in terms of economic growth and development in a lot of emerging countries, most notably China.”
Another factor has been a reduction in refinery capacity on the East Coast because of the permanent closure of several refineries in North America and a temporary shutdown of others for maintenance.
On longislandgasprices.com, a website that compiles motorist reports, customers yesterday found prices for regular as high as $3.69 at eight stations. The lowest price, $3.11, was reported at a Bay Shore station.
Above, Laura Mansi of Hauppauge pumps 16 gallons of gas with her son, Ryan Mansi, which costs her $60.00 at a Gulf gas station in Hauppauge earlier this month.
Prices for home heating oil also continued to rise. The average gallon went up by another four cents to $3.497 at full-service dealers in the week ended Dec. 27, according to a survey by state Energy Research and Development Authority.
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