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County residents still pay more for gas than people in neighboring areas

February 11, 2016
By Jimmy McCarthy ( , Westfield Republican

Gas prices may be low, but Chautauqua County residents are still paying more at the pump than those in neighboring areas.

According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of gas last week was $2.07 based on 19 stations in Jamestown. Average gas prices stood at $1.98 in Albany, $1.99 in Rochester and $2 in Binghamton. Motorists heading to the pump in Buffalo recently saw gas prices that were around 5 cents less than gas stations in Jamestown.

Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-C-I-Jamestown, said prices are competitive in big markets where a number of gas suppliers are located. The majority of gas in Chautauqua County comes from United Refinery Co. in Warren, Pa. Goodell said the refinery holds the ability to charge a higher price because they can, he said.

"The mark up in gas in Buffalo is going to be lower because there are two to three major suppliers," Goodell said. "The closer you get to a plant, the more of a price advantage the local plant has. Their (United Refinery's) mission is not to give the cheapest price. Their mission is to charge the most they can without losing business to their competitor."

United Refinery has over 375 retail outlets in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio. The locations are branded Kwik Fill, Red Apple Food Marts and Country Fair.

Goodell said larger markets like Buffalo and Erie, Pa., have lower pricing since there's more competition as opposed to gas stations in Jamestown and Chautauqua County.

"You'll find the price of gas in Erie is lower than it is in Warren, even though it might be coming from Warren, and that's because the gas coming out of Warren has to be priced lower in Erie in order to compete with other suppliers," he said.

Gas prices in Warren stood at $1.99 and $1.84 in Erie on Friday.

Legislation passing through the Assembly last year took aim at gas price fluctuations throughout New York. The bill, which didn't see consideration from the Senate, would have barred a supplier from charging different prices to gas stations within the same geographic location unless there was justification based on their costs.

"In other words, it would have moved the market to a cost-based market rather than matching the higher costs of competitors," said Goodell, who supported legislation. "I'm very sensitive to the price of gas across the state since I travel over 700 miles a week. I supported that type of legislation because I wanted to provide a fair and level playing field for consumers."



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