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Mass. gas prices continue falling as national average climbs

Prices are spiking up in other parts of the country.

Hand pumping gas
A customer pumps gas into his vehicle at a Madison, Mississippi, Sam's Club. The Associated Press

The average price of gas in Massachusetts is continuing to fall week to week, even as the national average is beginning to tick back up.

According to AAA’s gas price tracker, on Wednesday, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Massachusetts was $3.544. That’s down 11 cents from a week ago, when the average price was $3.652 per gallon.

Conversely, the country’s average gas price on Wednesday was $3.765 per gallon. That’s up eight cents from a week ago when the average price was $3.681.

AAA said in a news release Monday that while local gas prices remain low, they are spiking up in other parts of the country. Prices are worst on the West Coast, in the Rocky Mountain region, and in the Midwest. Prices in the Northeast, Atlantic region, and South remain relatively low.

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AAA Northeast Spokesperson Mark Schieldrop said in an email to Boston.com that this is because a number of oil refineries out west are down for both planned and unplanned maintenance. As a result, the refinery output there has fallen substantially and supplies have reached a 10-year low.

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While supplies in general are better than they were in the last few months, it’s still tight, so there’s no buffer to absorb short-term production crunches, he said.

California currently has the highest price in the country, with an average of $6.063 per gallon. That’s up about 54 cents from just a week ago.

Meanwhile, in the Northeast, we’ve been increasing our inventory of gas for three straight weeks, Schieldrop said.

The price of a gallon of gas is still going down, AAA said, and there is low domestic demand, which is helping blunt the rises in prices. On Friday, it said, the price of oil slipped below $80 a barrel for the first time since January, primarily due to fears of a recession-led global economic slowdown.

“Slack demand and lower oil prices should take some pressure off rising gas prices,” Mary Maguire, of AAA Northeast, said in the release. “But Hurricane Ian could cause problems, depending on the storm’s track, by disrupting oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and impacting large coastal refineries.”

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Schieldrop said prices will likely stabilize and could even increase by a few cents in the Northeast in the next few weeks depending on how long the hurricane disruptions last.

Additionally, the national supply has dropped slightly for the first time in a month, he said. With such a tight margin, it could cause some price increases.

National Gas Comparison Chart
AAA tracks the average price of gas across the country. – AAA

While Massachusetts still hasn’t reached the low gas prices it saw during the height of the pandemic, the average price in the state is closer to where it was a year ago than to where it was just two months ago.

Within the state, Nantucket and Dukes counties continue to have the highest gas prices, at $4.931 and $4.574 per gallon, respectively.

This week, Bristol and Hampden counties had the lowest prices, at $3.379 and $3.358 per gallon, respectively.

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