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Gas Prices Remain High In Manhattan As Gas Stations Disappear

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Gas prices may be falling across the nation, but not so much in New York City.

As CBS2's Sonia Rincon reported, oil prices are plummeting, but you wouldn't know that at some gas stations in Manhattan with prices like $2.89 on the Upper West Side and $3.59 in Hell's Kitchen.

"I don't like it a whole lot, but you don't have much choice," said Marietta Welch, from West Virginia.

But seasoned city drivers have the same complaint.

"When you don't have options, you have to pay," said Yaniv Dahari.

You could blame high Manhattan rent, but manager Alberto Rodriguez said his gas station doesn't have many options either when it comes to suppliers.

"Our prices are high, but we're barely in business. People swear we're swimming in money. We're not. It's hard to stay in business," Rodriguez said.

Which is why the gas stations are disappearing in Manhattan, Rincon reported.

One gas station on the corner of 14th Street under the High Line used to have the most expensive gas in the city. Now? It's gone.

Meanwhile developers have big plans for a former gas station in Chelsea.

And you'll find a recently closed gas station on 45th Street and 10th Avenue too.

AAA spokesman Rober Sinclair said there are only seven gas stations left below 59th Street.

"Without competition, without three guys on the same corner perhaps selling gasoline and them racing to the bottom as far as prices are concerned, you see higher prices," Sinclair said.

And that's perfectly legal, Rincon reported.

"There's no caps on the price of gasoline unless there is a disaster," Sinclair said.

City Councilman Rafael Espinal chairs the consumer affairs committee and said one way the city can protect gas stations and competitive pricing is with zoning.

"One of the things we're looking at is where the gas stations are currently located to make sure we cut them out of the future rezoning," said Espinal.

That would keep the land off limits to developers as real estate markets in the outer boroughs heat up.

But if you're looking for evidence of low oil prices in Manhattan, you'll have to head uptown.

The cheapest gas Rincon could find was at 182nd Street and Broadway at $1.97 a gallon. If you have a 15-gallon tank, that's less than $30 to fill it. In Hell's Kitchen, it would set you back more than $50.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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