Poll: Most New Yorkers not optimistic about economy

Posted at: 02/06/2013 5:55 PM
By: Dan Bazile

ALBANY -- Gas prices hit a record high for the month of February and there's very little explanation why.

"This time there's really nothing that I can point to that's dramatic. This is a very steady increase," said Mac Brownson, president of the Gasoline Retailers Association.

The price at the pump jumped 17 cents in a week. The national average  for regular is $3.44 a gallon. It's always more in the capital region which is currently at $3.84 a gallon. Mac Brownson, president of the Gasoline Retailers Association said demand in America has been the same for the past ten years. He said it's other countries that are driving the prices.

"They're going through a period of growth that is similar to what we went through in the 50's where the demand for fuel is escalating everyday," he added.

Whatever the explanation, New Yorkers don't seem to like it, according to a new Siena Research Institute poll. The research said January was the second month in a row that many New Yorkers didn't feel like spending money. The survey found 54 percent of all New Yorkers said current gas prices are having a serious impact on their financial condition. 71 percent were concerned about their grocery bills.

"If it costs more to go out to get milk and bring it back to the dairy and transport it to the store, obviously that's going to affect food prices as well," said Stewart's Shop's spokesman Tom Mailey

Mailey said it's all connected. He said the increase in gas prices can have an effect bread,  milk, eggs and other food items. But he said they try to absorb the increases where they can and have reasonable price changes.

"Maybe the perception is bigger than the actual reality. But sure we've seen milk cost increase. We've seen bread increase," Mailey said.

As for gasoline prices, Borwnson said the sharp increases will most likely continue.

"Right now gasoline is a stock on the rise. That's not going to change anytime soon," Brownson said. "Unless we stop driving so much, we're going to keep paying. We've shown that we'll keep paying."

The Siena survey also showed consumer sentiment down overall. Buying plans for cars, trucks, computers, furniture and major home improvements were all down.