AAA: Rising gas prices affecting RI, Mass. residents

Local News

WARWICK, R.I (WPRI) — Americans are once again feeling the pain at the pump as gas prices continue to soar across the country.

Gas prices locally are three cents higher than the national average, according to AAA of Southern New England. That pain, now hitting many bank accounts hard.

According to AAA, at this time last year, gas prices in Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts were averaging $2.08 a gallon.

“It’s undeniable how much it’s gone up,” Andy Fox said. “It’s horrible, hopefully it stops soon.”

One year later, prices have skyrocketed to $3.42, leaving consumers like Michael Penta frustrated.

“When I first bought this truck it probably cost me $35 to fill the tank,” he said. “I’m probably spending $75 to $80 right now.”

Local residents like Fox say they’re now thinking twice about how they’re spending their money.

“I’ve definietly noticed each paycheck is a little tighter, you have to start picking which streaming service you want to use,” Fox joked.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average vehicle gets 24.2 miles per gallon.

Using that number, a trip from Providence to New York City would cost the average driver $15.95 in gas during November of 2020 or $31.90 for a roundtrip.

Today, that trip to the Big Apple would cost $26.23 one way, and a roundtrip would rise to $52.46.

“My wife and I have been putting off a trip with the girls for a couple months now because between that, the hotel, and everything, it adds up so quickly, we just really don’t have it right now,” says Fox.

The reason for the price spike is supply and demand. More Americans are back on the roads after the pandemic, along with supply chain interruptions affecting industries across the United States.

“It makes me want to stay home a bit more,” Penta added. “I’m thinking about getting an electric bike and riding around that way because you just can’t afford it anymore.”

Last week, President Joe Biden ordered 50 million barrels of oil released from America’s strategic reserve to help bring down energy costs. It’s expected to cause prices at the pump to drop within the next couple of weeks.

The average price of gas could decline 10 to 15 cents, experts say, though they note there is no guarantee. The Biden administration, however, is confident in its plan.

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