Cheaper by the Gallon

Illustration by Jason Lee

The rapid, frightening rise in gas prices is making cars a prohibitive luxury. Where’s the best place to fill up? According to Ralph Bombardiere, director of the state Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops, the answer changes by the day, if not the hour. “The retailer has very little to do with the prices at the pump,” he says. “Those are set by suppliers.” Via sites like, which uses volunteer spotters to post prices daily, we monitored the ever-shifting landscape. Here, eight stations with relatively cheap fuel.

Where to Fill Up When You’re …

1. …Coming Home From Northern New Jersey
Lukoil, 2284 Rte. 4 W., nr. Jones Rd., Fort Lee, N.J.; 201-363-1837.
Capitalize on New Jersey’s low gas taxes and proximity to refineries (prime reasons for the state’s gentler prices) before crossing back over the George Washington Bridge. Lukoil is usually reasonable, although nearby Gulf and BP stations can sometimes be a cent or two cheaper.

2. …Going Upstate
Shell, 1855 First Ave., at 96th St.; 212-426-8351.
Heading northbound on the FDR, jump off at East 96th Street, where the First Avenue Shell Station regularly beats other East Side stations by several cents per gallon.

3. …Dropping Off A Rental At La Guardia
Exxon, 31-02 68th St., at 31st Ave., Jackson Heights; 718-457-1003.
The cost is nearly identical to the Mobil down the block, but the Exxon is a faster fill-up because of its corner location and angled islands.

4. …Dropping Off a Rental at JFK
Exxon, 137-21 Liberty Ave., nr. Van Wyck Expressway, Jamaica; 718-262-0658.
Stations on city expressways tend to be pricey, but a quick stop at the Exxon off the Van Wyck beats the cost of filling your rental at the airport.

5. …Picking up Passengers on the Way to the Rockaways
Hess, 204 Fourth Ave., at Union St., Park Slope; 718-625-7904.
Park Slope’s Hess station is about a mile from the beachbound BQE entrance on Third Avenue and 17th Street, and their prices beat out nearby competitors.

6. …About to Cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
Hess, 833 Fourth Ave., nr. 31st St., Sunset Park; 718-768-1493.
Since you’re about to get gouged by the $10 bridge toll, exit the BQE at 39th Street and save twenty cents a gallon compared with Manhattan prices.

7. …Returning From Ikea
Amoco, 235 12th St., nr. Erie St., Jersey City, N.J.; 201-653-5860.
There are scores of stations lined up on the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel, all within a penny or two of each other, so if the Amoco has been bested, take your business to one of its rivals.

8. …Running On Empty And Approaching The Lincoln Tunnel
Hess, 502 W. 45th St., at Tenth Ave.; 212-245-6594.
If your E light just blinked on and you don’t want to risk stalling under the Hudson, try the Hess on the corner a few blocks north of the tunnel entrance.

*Price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas on May 14.

Cheaper by the Gallon