If you frequent certain gas stations for their discounted prices, you may be noticing those prices aren't as discounted right now.

Ronira, ThinkStock

Don't blame the state's new higher gas tax.

Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience-Automotive Association, says the Garden State is feeling the residual effects of the Colonial Pipeline explosion in Alabama late last month.

The pipeline provides about a third of the East Coast's daily gasoline consumption and was offline for a week.

New Jersey is seeing a smaller price gap between big-name gas stations, known for selling top-tier gasoline, and unbranded locations, which tend to serve a lower-tier product that still meets government standards.

"Usually the price for unbranded gasoline is about 6 to 12 cents a gallon less than it would be at a branded location," Risalvato said.

But recent updates on GasBuddy.com, which inform motorists on the lowest and highest gasoline prices in the state, show a much narrower gap than usual, and in some cases, unbranded stations are selling their gasoline at a higher price than brands such as Exxon and Shell.

"There are times when the marketplace runs into either difficulties or anticipated difficulties and the first products that are affected are the unbranded products," Risalvato said. "Anytime there's any kind of supply interruption ... they will make sure that branded locations receive gasoline before unbranded gasoline stations receive gasoline."

Risalvato said motorists will likely see a greater difference between branded and unbranded prices over the next week or two.

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Tracy Noble, new testing has uncovered significant differences in the quality of gasoline sold at fuel retailers, and non-top-tier gasoline brands caused 19 times more engine deposits than top-tier brands after 4,000 miles of simulated driving.

"By selecting a quality gasoline, drivers can minimize engine deposits, increase vehicle performance and improve fuel economy," Noble said. "Shopping around with your steering wheel for these gasoline brands will save money in the long-term through better fuel economy and reduced need for repairs."

Lowest Gas Prices in New Jersey
New Jersey Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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