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Gas prices skyrocket for motorists, not boaters

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MASSENA - Motorists have seen prices at the gas pump climb by up to 30 cents over the past weeks with prices on South Main Street climbing from $3.64 per gallon to $3.90 per gallon in a 10-day period.

But boaters fueling up at the Robert Moses State Park marina are still paying the same price they were two weeks ago for the fuel they purchase to power their boats.

Robert Moses State Park Manager Chris Williams says that their gas prices haven’t increased this season, and boaters are still getting out onto the waters at the boat launch in Massena.

The boat launch has been a popular venue for people during this summer’s recent warm weather, and Mr. Williams and the marina is savoring it.

“Last weekend on Sunday, we probably sold like 600 gallons, probably 700 plus on Saturday. We sell 91 octane, non-ethanol (gas for boats),” Mr. Williams said.

“Most just have their boat in the marina here. Obviously they gas up before they go, but people from Canada and stuff like that come over here and gas up too. Our price hasn’t fluctuated yet this season. Usually we’ll get a notice from our regional office, but we haven’t gone up since the beginning of the season.”

And there are some water enthusiasts at the marina that aren’t concerned at all by the gas prices,

Tim Schiltz, whose family was taking his sail boat out on the St. Lawrence River on Friday, said they had only one worry as they prepared to take their boat out - the strength of the winds.

“It has to be 15 miles per hour for us to go out on the boat. This is our second time out on the boat this summer. We probably went half a dozen times last summer,” Mr. Schiltz said.

Gregg Laskoski, a senior petroleum analyst for Gasbuddy.com, said fluctuating gas prices typically have as limited impact on recreational vehicle users, such as boaters.

Mr. Laskoski felt that this could possibly be related to the demographic of boat owners. “Any places where the price of fuel increases incrementally the public will be discouraged. Leisure travel could decline. With recreational boats likes that, generally people are making pretty good income and are not worried too much about their expenses like that. I don’t have data that confirms it, but anecdotally people may say ‘I may cut back a little (on gas),’ while others might say ‘I won’t change a single thing,’” he said.

Mr. Laskoski predicted the higher fuel prices will likely remain a concern for motorists, however, for at least the next several weeks. Average gas prices in New York have skyrocketed by 13 cents per gallon over past week, he said.

Mr. Laskoski said the average gas price in New York State is now at $3.89 per gallon, up from $3.71 a year ago. The national average is at $3.68 cents per gallon, increasing 9 cents from last week and 21 cents from one year ago.

“We’re expecting these prices to continue to climb because crude oil continues to rise. Today, crude traded at $109 per barrel. The closing price was $108.35,” Mr. Laskoski said Friday afternoon.

“Generally when crude oil prices go up, retail goes up and wholesale goes up. We expect prices to continue to rise incrementally for at least the next several weeks,” he said.

Back on June 23, crude oil was being sold at $93 per barrel and that price has been steadily increasing.

“A lot of people say (the rise in gas prices) is about uncertainty in Egypt, whose leading them. The other thing that’s pushed prices up is the reduction in crude oil inventories but increase in consumer demand. That causes retail prices to go up especially when crude oil barrels are over $108 per barrel,” Mr. Laskoski said.

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