Here is another in our continuing series of articles about things going on around Rochester.
Problems at the pump are not a new issue for American motorists, although they weren’t always about prices. Before cars were fitted with gas gauges in the 1920s, drivers would have to guess how much fuel remained in their tank, making it easy for cars to run out of gas on the side of the road. While we no longer have to make an educated guess at our fuel levels, gas remains a problem. Automakers have certainly made vast improvements to cars over the years, but despite new fuel-efficient technologies to help drivers save money at the pump, gas prices continue to be an economic burden.
Although automobile fuel prices remain high, residents of Rochester can look forward to a slight improvement in the coming months as the seasonal drop in fuel prices edges closer. Currently, Rochester gas prices are sitting at $3.54 per gallon, higher than the national average of $3.28, but experts are predicting that prices will decline even more. Prices have already dropped to their lowest point of the year, decreasing from $3.62 at the end of August to $3.56 at the end of September.
What’s causing prices at the pump to go down? Experts say there are a few reasons. First, fuel demand tends to drop in the fall by about 12 million gallons a day compared to the summer. Second, fall and winter gas blends that become more popular with the changing seasons are less expensive. Finally, the price of crude oil has decreased internationally by $15 a barrel since June.
Falling gas prices are not the only thing Rochester residents have to look forward to in the near future. Local gas companies are predicting that home heating costs will also drop this winter, noting that customers could enjoy as much as a 10 percent decrease on their heating bills.
According to predictions by the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners who use natural gas to heat their homes are likely to see bills as low as $649 for the months of October to March. Last year they averaged about $680. The Energy Department also predicted that electric, propane and heating oil customers will see slight drops in their bills.