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Nearly $4 Per Gallon For Regular Gasoline Hits Manhattan; Prices Could Keep Rising

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Gas Station in the East Village - New York, NY - Jan 11, 2012 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

Gas Station in the East Village – New York, NY – Jan 11, 2012 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

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KATONAH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New Yorkers are poised at the pump for pain the pocketbook, as gasoline prices reach their highest point in years in January.

“Over $50, $51, and it’s not a Hummer. That’s crazy!” said Donald Davis of Mt. Vernon, referring to how much money it takes to fill her tank.

“It was $60.15. We filled the tank, an arm and a leg,” added Charles Groom of Pelham.

At this time of year, prices should be down, reports CBS 2’s Lou Young.

“This is real trouble and probably this is the price we’re seeing in our area. We’re averaging $3.72 in the City of New York so that makes $4 a gallon a distinct possibility pretty soon,” said Robert Sinclair of the New York Automobile Association.

In 2009, gas was priced at only $1.98 a gallon. In 2010, prices rose to $2.97, then $3.43 last year. Now, gas reached a record of $3.72.

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane On The Story

“They’re screaming at us. They want to know why the price is so high and I agree with them. We don’t know why they’re high,” said gas station owner Mike Ianella.

One could call it a fear tax, with Iran threatening to blockade the Strait of Hormuz and close off supply routes from Saudi Arabia if Europe follows through on a threatened boycott of its oil.

As a result, speculators are jumping in right at a time when the economy here in the U.S. is expected to put pressure on demand.

“What we’re seeing right now is almost 100 percent Iran, maybe 90 percent with 10 percent a stronger economy,” said oil analyst Peter Beutel.

Analyst Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service said there’s still some room for prices to rise.

He said they could hold flat for a while, but then “we get the inevitable spring spike, and I do think that’s going to be a pretty disturbing spike.”

So what can New Yorkers do? Driving to New Jersey where gas taxes are lower is one option. Another is to get online and find a website that will steer you to lower pump prices in your area.

That could save you 10 cents a gallon or more, but the experts warn if an Iranian oil boycott happens, we’ll all be paying for it at the pump.

Where to find the lowest gas prices: GasWatch.com, GasBuddy.com

How are rising gas prices affecting you? Sound off in our comment section below…

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