No one is happy with gas, which averages nearly $5 a gallon. But maybe it helps to know that ours is a shared pain. Pump pain is felt globally. For example, on Memorial Day, the average price of a gallon of gas in Rochester was $4.89. But our neighbors in northern Canada were paying $6.49. In Italy it was $7.77. It was $8.06 in France. In Greece it was $9.29. And in Hong Kong, a gallon of regular unleaded cost $11.20.
But if seeing what drivers around the world are paying gives us perspective, it makes filling your tank no less of a pain. Heads of state were therefore eager to provide substantial relief.
“We put a moratorium on the sales tax at the pump because our families needed it,” State Representative Harry Bronson said Tuesday at a news conference in Rochester.
But the experts of Tax Policy Centerone of the country’s leading think tanks, believes tax exemptions are driven by political, not economic, reasons.
“I mean, it works for politicians, and we know 36 state governors are up for re-election this year,” said Lucy Dadayan, senior research associate at the Tax Policy Center,
This is the case here in New York. But she and others point out that for those of us in upstate New York, where there are fewer public transit options, the gas spikes are hitting hard.
“Unfortunately, this does not bring meaningful relief to ordinary Americans,” Dadayan insisted.
The Tax Policy Center says the individual savings are tiny compared to the cost to the state, nearly $600 million. But state leaders believe the loss of revenue is worth it.
“It’s a little relief,” Bronson said. “We have control over these taxes, and our families need relief today.”
The cheapest gasoline in our area on Tuesday afternoon was at BJ’s in Henrietta, where it’s $4.51 a gallon. Did you think we would ever call $4.51 cheap? But at least we don’t live in Hong Kong.
With help from Consumer Reports, here’s Deanna’s list of things to do to save at the pumps:
• Stay halfway. This gives you the ability to stop when you see the cheapest gas, not when you absolutely have to get it.
• Combine trips. I always fill up after church because it’s closer to Costco than my house.
• Drive evenly. Consumer Reports testing found that hard braking and accelerating can lower your gas mileage by up to 3 mpg.
• Buy Top Tier gasoline. The detergents it contains are gentler on your engine and increase fuel economy.
• Skip the bounty. Unless your car says a premium is required, you’ll get little benefit from premium gasoline. You can find your car’s octane requirements on the fuel filler door.
• Check your tire pressure. Your tires lose about 1 psi per month. If your tire pressure is too low, your fuel consumption will be affected.
• Use a gas app to find the cheapest gas near you.