Rochester’s gas prices continue falling despite end to gas tax relief

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Gas prices in Rochester continue to drop week after week even though the gas tax relief ended on Dec. 31.

In the final days of the tax relief, local prices averaged at $3.56 per gallon. On Monday, that average was at $3.45 per gallon, 1 cent lower than the previous week and 11 cents lower than late December.

That’s different from what’s expected. The tax relief that began in June aimed to save consumers a total of $0.22 per gallon at the pump – $0.06 at the Monroe County level and $0.16 at the state level – amid record high gas prices.

Prices kept dropping locally on January 2 compared to late December but that’s because it could take a couple of days for the renewed tax to translate to higher prices, said Bill Adams of the New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops. He predicted that gas prices would jump by 20 to 30 cents this week. However, so far they’ve kept decreasing.

For the state average, it’s a slightly different story. The average price increased by 5 cents this week and 1 cent the week before. While Rochester’s prices were higher than the state’s average for much of December, they’re now tied at $3.45 per gallon.

Most cities in Upstate New York had slight drops in gas prices this week. Prices in Buffalo dropped by 2 cents and prices in Syracuse dropped by 3 cents. Elmira had the biggest drop in the area at 5 cents, with the average landing on $3.30 per gallon.

Rochester has seen a trend of falling gas prices since mid-June, after prices hit an all-time record of $4.99 per gallon. That includes a drop in prices every week since the start of December.

Throughout much of the fall and winter, the national average has fallen much steeper than Rochester’s average. Because of that, Rochester’s prices have been higher than the national average since the third week of October.

However, a turning point may be in sight. This week, the national average increased by 6 cents, making it $3.28 per gallon. The previous week it increased by 13 cents as Rochester’s prices fell by 2 cents. If the pattern continues, Rochester could close the gap.

The cheapest gas in Rochester this week was $3.07 per gallon on Sunday while the most expensive was 62 cents higher, found a GasBuddy’s survey. You can find the cheapest local stations through a link to GasBuddy.

Gas prices skyrocketed in the spring and summer of 2021 because of rapid recovery from the pandemic increased the demand so high that supply couldn’t keep up. Europe’s restrictions on importing Russian oil also scrambled world oil prices, affecting the U.S. even though the U.S. imports very little Russian oil.

However, prices have dropped since then because of a more stable demand.  The average for gas is now cheaper for the nation, the state, and Rochester compared to January 2022. You can explore gas price trends on the website for AAA.