Consumer Alert: Better get your gas now

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It’s a new year – and that means the gas tax holiday is over.

But while we all expected prices to go up, instead they’ve gone down.

The average price of gas in New York is $3.39. That’s down 2 cents from a week ago. And in Rochester, it’s $3.48: also 2 cents cheaper than last week.

The average price of gas in New York State fell for three straight weeks. Surprisingly, the trend continued on Monday, Jan. 2: surprising because the gas tax holiday ended at the end of the year.

From June 1st to Dec. 31st, the State of New York, as well as Monroe and a spattering of other counties, voted to suspend all or part of their county gas taxes.

And it was complicated – so much so that even gas station owners had trouble calculating the savings, they told News10NBC.

On Jan. 1st, the Monroe County gas tax went back to 4 percent. That means if gas is $3.50 a gallon, we are now paying Monroe County 14 cents per gallon.

During the gas tax holiday, Monroe County capped its tax at 8 cents per gallon. So if gas is $3.50 a gallon, your Monroe County gas tax savings was 6 cents per gallon. You get that by taking 14 cents – the tax today – minus 8 cents, which was the capped tax during the gas tax holiday.

And when you add the state gas tax savings of 16 cents, you should now be paying 22 cents more.

So it stands to reason that we should have seen a jump of at least 22 cents at the pump on Jan. 1st.

Why not? Bill Adams, the president of the new York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops, says, “Just wait.”

It’s a holiday. By this time next week, he expects gas prices to increase 20 to 30 cents. He says it’s happening already. The wholesale price of gas in Rochester increased on average 9 cents Monday.

And, of course, those increases are passed along to us.

Want to save at the pump? Here’s Deanna’s Do List:

  • Don’t fill up until you get down to a quarter of a tank. You get better gas mileage with a lighter load, so always having full tank wastes money. Make sure that the price per gallon remains the same the entire time you’re pumping.
  • Fill up on Monday. GasBuddy analysis indicates gas is cheapest on Monday.
  • Show no loyalty. You may have a loyalty card at a gas station, but it takes forever for you to build up enough points to get a discount. In the meantime, you may be able to get cheaper gas elsewhere.
  • Combine trips. Get those errands done in one trip rather than multiple runs.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated.
  • Make sure the price per gallon remains the same the entire time you’re pumping
  • Check to see if there’s a discount for paying with cash.
  • Use an app to find the cheapest gas near you.

Some of Deanna’s favorite apps include: Waze, GasBuddy, Gas Guru, Mapquest, and AAA.