BOSTON (CBS) — Gas prices in Massachusetts are the highest they’ve been in seven years. According to AAA, the average price per gallon jumped 9 cents last week up to $3.27. And as of Tuesday, the cost has gone up another 2 cents to $3.29 for regular unleaded.
AAA Northeast’s Mary Maguire told CBSN Boston in an interview “these are gas prices that are much higher than what we’ve been accustomed to.”READ MORE: Local Researchers Test COVID Samples To Determine Prevalence Of Omicron Variant In Massachusetts
The main factor behind the surge is the price of crude oil which has reached $83 a barrel, Maguire said. More than half the cost of a gallon of gas is attributed to crude oil costs.
“It’s important to remember that in August, for example, when gasoline prices at the pump were far lower, we were looking at crude closing on a daily basis in the low 60s,” she said. “That $20 increase in the price of a barrel of oil is really what’s driving up prices at the pump.”
Maguire said that typically as temperatures fall this time of year, so do gas prices as people travel less and don’t take as many vacations.
“What we’re seeing right now is an unusual situation that is due in part to the pandemic,” she said, adding that there has been an increased demand for oil, gasoline and energy products all over the world as people feel freer to travel.READ MORE: Amid Concerns Over Omicron COVID Variant, CDC Says All Vaccinated Adults Should Get Booster Shots
So how can Massachusetts drivers save money right now? The range of prices at different gas stations can be as high as 50 cents, and Maguire said it’s important to keep an eye out for cheap fuel.
“It really pays to be a smart consumer and shop around,” she said. “We know that many retailers still have prices that are below $3.”
A change in driving habits can also make a difference, Maguire said. She recommends slowing down and making sure tires are properly inflated, plus consolidating errands to be more fuel efficient.
“Treat your car as a bus, making stops along the way, as opposed to a taxi or an Uber running out to every single destination,” Maguire said.
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