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Gasoline prices hit record high

A green and gray gas pump.

Western New Yorkers, like everyone else, are feeling the pain at the pump, as gas prices continue to climb.

Valerie Puma of the AAA of Western and Central New York said on Tuesday that the current state average for regular gasoline is $4.569 a gallon, up 20 cents from last week. In the Buffalo area, it’s $4.416 a gallon, up 12 cents from a week ago and the highest recorded average so far.

Puma said diesel prices are over $6 a gallon and diesel fuel prices have been higher than regular grade gasoline almost continuously since September 2004.

"This is due to high demand, the transition to less polluting lower sulfur diesel fuels and the federal excise tax of 24.3 cents per gallon is six cents per gallon higher than the tax on regular gasoline,” Puma said.

In New York state, diesel is selling at an average of $6.418 a gallon, more than twice as much as a year ago. In the Buffalo area, diesel is averaging $6.14 a gallon.

High diesel fuel prices impact businesses that need to transport goods and those that have commercial vehicles like AAA. Nearly all of AAA Western and Central New York’s tow trucks rely on diesel fuel.

“To say we’re feeling pain at the pump is an understatement,” said Steve Steinmetz, director of automotive service operations at AAA Western and Central New York. “Prices have literally doubled since last year impacting all towing companies across the state.”

Puma said that with the price of crude oil continuing to rise, high pump prices will likely follow.

She said that crude oil prices, currently around $110 dollars a barrel, rose after the European Union announced a proposal to ban Russian oil imports within six months, while refined product imports would be prohibited by the end of the year.

Puma said there are some countries are seeking more time to find alternatives to Russian oil.

Alex Crichton is host of All Things Considered on WXXI-AM 1370. Alex delivers local news, weather and traffic reports beginning at 4:00 p.m. each weekday.