The monthslong slide in gas prices has come to an end, as Bay State drivers start to notice pump prices going up at their neighborhood gas station.
Gas prices in Massachusetts ticked up 7 cents on average over the last week, which is the first time prices have increased in several weeks. The average cost for a regular gallon of gas is now $3.56, according to AAA Northeast on Monday.
After mid-June — when gas prices hit a record high of $5.04 a gallon — the average price in the Bay State dropped by more than $1.50 a gallon over a four-month stretch. But now pump prices are starting to rise again.
“That great run we had has come to an end,” AAA Northeast’s Mark Schieldrop said of the decreasing gas prices. “We’ll see if we hover where we’re at, and hopefully we don’t see any major increases.
“I see us in this kind of plateau phase, where we don’t see prices falling very much,” he added. “We won’t see prices like in the summer around $5, but we could see anywhere between a 25-cent to 40-cent range where we could bounce up and down.”
Prices in the last week have started going up because domestic oil inventories are low and OPEC announced that it’s slashing oil production by 2 million barrels a day. Also, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought uncertainty to the oil market.
Oil prices are now at their highest level in five weeks.
“But the concerns about the economy, and the feds hiking interest rates, should help keep a lid on oil prices for the time being,” Schieldrop said.
The nation’s average gas price has climbed to $3.91 per gallon — 35 cents higher than the $3.56 average in Massachusetts. The national average is being skewed by very high prices on the West Coast, including a whopping $6.33 per gallon in California.
“Here on the East Coast, we’re much better when it comes to inventories, so we’re in decent shape but we’re still at historic lows,” Schieldrop said.
The cheapest gas in the Bay State is now in Bristol County, where the average for a regular gallon is $3.42. The second cheapest gas county is now Franklin County, coming in at $3.45 a gallon.
Suffolk County’s average is now $3.72 a gallon, while Middlesex County’s average is $3.63 per gallon and Norfolk County’s average is $3.61 a gallon. Neighboring Plymouth County’s average is lower at $3.49 per gallon.