As the day’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is at a 9-cent increase, Batavia's average was reportedly down by 13 cents at $4.72 a gallon, AAA Western and Central New York says.
Although some counties in New York State are adjusting prices even more by jumping on the gas tax “holiday” bandwagon, Genesee County is not one of them just yet, County Manager Matt Landers said. The option to suspend gas tax began on June 1.
“The Legislature and I have discussed the gas tax holiday option, and at this time the decision is to not opt in, which also happens to be the positon of the majority of counties in NYS,” Landers said to The Batavian Thursday. “Capping the gasoline sales tax at $3 a gallon, as some counties have done, could result in a savings at the pump of approximately 4 to 6 cents/gallon.”
But there are no assurances this savings would even get felt at the gas pump, Landers said.
"Within Genesee County’s borders currently you can find variations of gas prices larger than 6 cents/gallon. When you travel to Monroe or Erie Counties, the variation in gas prices gets even larger, and this was before the gas tax holiday,” he said.
There are many reasons for the county’s stance not to establish that holiday, he said, including loss of revenues that could go for other budgetary needs. A “significant” portion of that income derives from travelers and non-residents that use gas stations at one of the two Thruway rest stops and three Thruway exits, he said. So the tax savings would be benefiting folks who don’t even live in Genesee County, he said.
Remaining status quo and not offering the tax break would mean less revenues toward tax stabilization in the 2023 budget, he said, or for helping to fund significant projects on the horizon, such as Phase 3 of the countywide water system and broadband initiative.
“The Legislature and I are monitoring the situation and we will review the data over the following months,” he said. “And again discuss opting into the gas tax holiday next quarter.”
The City of Batavia abides by the county's tax schedule per a long-term contract, City Manager Rachael Tabelski said, which means those prices at the pump will tack on the tax in Batavia as well.
"We do not preempt the county on sales tax," Tabelski said. "And are under a 40-year sales tax agreement, giving the city 14 percent of all sales tax revenue collected in the county."
AAA reported that, in addition to Batavia, several communities throughout the state are seeing lower gas prices before a tax is or is not added. These include:
- Buffalo - $4.69 (down 15 cents from yesterday)
- Elmira - $4.76 (down 11 cents from yesterday)
- Ithaca - $4.77 (down 11 cents from yesterday)
- Rochester - $4.76 (down 14 cents from yesterday)
- Rome - $4.76 (down 13 cents from yesterday)
- Syracuse - $4.72 (down 14 cents from yesterday)
- Watertown - $4.78 (down 12 cents from yesterday)
Meanwhile, the state average for diesel fuel is at $6.36, a drop of 9 cents from yesterday. A year ago, the average cost for a gallon of diesel was $3.24.
With Memorial Day in the review mirror, motorists are hoping for some relief at the pump, AAA states. That will depend on oil prices, demand, and geopolitical factors. In a typical year, pump prices peak around Memorial Day and taper off over the summer, though summer prices are almost always more expensive than winter prices due to increased demand and summer blend fuel that is more expensive to produce, it states.
Tighten that seatbelt …
To conserve fuel, motorists should map routes, avoid peak traffic times like rush hour, and combine errands into one trip while using cruise control when possible. Drivers should also make sure tire pressure is at the vehicle’s recommended level for the best gas mileage while removing any unnecessary and bulky items from the car since it takes more fuel to accelerate a heavy vehicle.
Get more tips HERE
Motorists can benefit from comparing pump prices before filling up with the AAA Mobile App for iPhone, iPad and Android.
AAA members receive discounts at gas stations such as Fastrac, Maple Leaf Market and Shell. Learn more here. AAA members can save on gas by joining the Fuel Rewards at Shell program. Join now at AAA.com/Shell. Motorists can also locate gas prices across the country and stay up-to-date on the latest news and fuel-saving tips HERE
As Upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
Photo: A local gas station in Batavia boasts lower priced gas than the average on Thursday. Photo by Howard Owens.