New York's gas prices are lower than the national average, but that coming to an end very soon.

AAA Northeast says the national average for a gallon of regular fuel is $3.53 while New Yorkers are paying an average of $3.44 a gallon.

It's not often to see the Empire State enjoying lower fuel costs than the rest of the nation, which is why we shouldn't get too comfortable. The reason why we're seeing some relief at the pump is temporary.

NY Gas Prices Expected to Surge

Ronira/Think Stock
Ronira/Think Stock

It's within the realm of possibility that New Yorkers could soon start paying over $4 for a gallon of regular fuel in the coming weeks.

Prices have been steadily rising over the past month. Last month, the state's average price was $3.32 a gallon and the price has climbed by over 20 cents since then.

The Utica-Rome area is currently paying more than the state average, which is currently at $3.49 a gallon for regular fuel.

Analysts are saying the prices we see today will rise by roughly 15 to 50 cents in the coming weeks as refineries transition to their more expensive summer blend.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, warned:

One word of caution for those in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast: you haven’t yet finished the transition to summer gasoline, so you may experience some sticker shock in a few weeks. Be prepared for somewhat of a punch.

While the rest of the nation has already switched to the more expensive summer blend, the Northeast is typically last to do so due to weather.

The Northeast will soon change over because fuel demand has been steadily rising as more people take advantage of the spring-like weather.

The Science Behind Summer-Blend Gas

Stewarts in Ilion has been featuring lower gas prices since their grand opening on October 28, 2022. (Photo by Bill Keeler)
(Photo by Bill Keeler)

The reason why summer-grade gas is more costly is because it has a lower RPV, or Reid vapor pressure.

Also, winter-grade gas is typically less expensive because of lower demand between September and March.

Winter blends have more butane and a higher RVP, which allows the gas to evaporate more quickly so cars can start more easily, according to Guttman Energy. They add, "Summer blend allows for less evaporation, leading to less smog."

Read More: Why Are Gas Prices Going up in NY All of a Sudden?

The main reason why summer blends are more costly is because of its longer production time. Along with having less Butane and a lower RVP, it also means there is less gasoline per barrel of oil.

Check out this YouTube video from GasBuddy, which dives into the difference between summer and winter-blend gas. Jump ahead to the 3-minute mark to get straight to the point:

There is a silver lining to this. Summer blends typically give cars a better gas mileage, which should help offset some of the cost you pay at the pump.

When Does New York Change to Summer Blend?

Getty Images
Getty Images

The Northeast is the last region to change over to summer-blend gas due to colder weather persisting later into the year. "Transition season" for gas stations typically runs from now until the end of the month, as refineries rev up summer-blend production.

By May 1, refineries must be clear of all winter-blend fuel. By June 1, retailers like gas stations must make the switch to summer-grade.

This blend will be sold at retailers until September, when winter-blend starts ramping up in production around the 15th. Gas prices typically decrease by the end of September as more retailers switch to selling winter-blend gas because it is less expensive.

Maximizing Your Gas

Gas Pump Photo Credit: Erik Mclean on Unsplash
Gas Pump Photo Credit: Erik Mclean on Unsplash

There are a few ways to conserve your gas so you're not filling up as often.

According to AAA, the best ways to get the most bang for your buck at the gas pump is by following these 3 simple rules:

  1. Make sure your tires are properly inflated
  2. Avoid sudden braking or rapid acceleration
  3. When safe to do so, such as on a highway, use cruise control

AAA says this will ensure your car gets superior gas mileage and help you save money at the pump.

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