NYC drivers already feeling pinch of OPEC’s oil production cuts

NYC drivers already feeling pinch of OPEC’s oil production cuts


April 4, 2023 | 3:30 in the afternoon

Experts say the shock decision by the OPEC+ oil cartel to cut production will make the coming months “very painful for drivers” – and wide-eyed motorists are already reeling from sticker shock.

“Here we go again,” Vincent Bruno, 50, said Tuesday morning as he gassed up his sedan at a Sunoco on Queens Boulevard in Briarwood, where a regular gallon costs $3.60. “It’s not a huge increase, but it’s enough to get you where it hurts. They don’t care about the little boy.”

Miguel Reyes, a 44-year-old bus driver from Kew Gardens, Queens, said he thought prices were falling until he got to his local Shell station, where it listed $3.46 a gallon.

“It’s a burden — a few dollars more, it adds up,” Reyes said. “That money has to come from somewhere else. Maybe I buy lower-priced ice cream for my kids or lower-priced cereal that they don’t like.”

And it’s likely to only get worse.

Surprise cuts from the OPEC+ oil cartel are likely to mean higher pump prices for American drivers. Reuters

With its decision on Sunday to suddenly cut production by more than a million barrels a day, the powerful oil cartel – which counts Russia among its members – immediately pushed the price of a barrel of Brent oil up from around $77 on March 31 to $81 in April. 3.

There were immediate consequences at the pump.

On Tuesday, a gallon of gas went for about $3.50 a gallon nationwide, according to AAA’s online tracker.

Gas prices have already risen about 7 cents nationwide, according to AAA. REUTERS The oil market is extremely sensitive to global fluctuations, prompting some experts to avoid predicting how high prices might play out. Reuters

That’s up from $3.43 a week ago and $3.39 a month ago, AAA said.

Wall Street watchers have said the OPEC+ cuts could push prices past $100 a barrel, which would likely raise per-gallon rates and frustrate U.S. drivers still reeling from last year’s record high gas prices. .

That could lead to increases of about 26 cents per gallon, according to Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners LLC.

This is on top of the usual seasonal increase that occurs when refineries switch to their summer gasoline blend. The Department of Energy calculates that to be about 32 cents per gallon, Book said.

“It’s fair to say that this is going to be very painful for drivers for the next couple of months,” Robert Sinclair, spokesman for AAA Northeast told The Post. “I feel sorry for the consumers, the people who can’t afford these fluctuating gas prices.”

But Sinclair was reluctant to speculate on how high prices might play out in the fragile oil market, which is highly sensitive to global events such as the war in Ukraine, Venezuela’s refinery capacity and China’s demand for fuel, among others.

“I think there will be an initial increase in prices, but how high? Hard to say,” Sinclair said. “It’s not something that changes month to month, week to week, or even day to day. It’s minute by minute.”

Americans may cut back on road trips this summer because of high prices, AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair said. REUTERS OPEC+ announced the cuts on Sunday, which had an immediate impact on pump prices. Reuters

However, the price hike is likely to throw a wrench into people’s spring and summer plans, he added.

“The great American family road trip could be shortened as a result,” Sinclair said.

But for others who get behind the wheel for a living – like taxi driver Mehedi Roy – it’s best not to dwell on the ever-changing gas bill.

“I pay what it costs. What else can I do?” Roy, 30, told The Post Tuesday at the Queens Boulevard Sunoco. “I spend all day burning gasoline. If I think about how much it costs, I can get very depressed.”

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