GRAFTON, Mass.—If you blinked, you missed the recent hike in gasoline prices.
According to Gasbuddy.com, the average price at the pump in central Massachusetts has risen 18 cents per gallon the past 10 days, from $3.47 to $3.65. That means a commuter who filled up their 15 gallon tank twice a week is paying about $22 more per month.
Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for Gassbuddy.com, said despite the large hike in Massachusetts, other parts of the country, such as California and Michigan, have seen hikes as high as 40 cents. He said the increase is pegged to three factors:
• Crude oil prices are at $98 per barrel, the highest he said since May 2012 and exacerbated by a weak dollar.
• A rash of geopolitical news, especially the recent tension between Israel and Iran.
• Gasoline refineries have reduced their inventory in winter blend fuel as they begin the process of bringing summer blend to market by May 1.
Allyson Schmutter, spokeswoman for the Alliance to Save Energy, a nonprofit energy efficiency advocacy group in Washington, D.C., said consumers can fight back with some simple practices:
• Lose the excess trunk weight. Consumers can reduce their gas bill by $40 per year for every 100 pounds they shed.
• Drive smarter. Schmutter said by avoiding rapid acceleration, speeding and braking on the highway, consumers can save $991 per year on fuel. “Every 5 mph over 50 is the equivalent of 24 cents per gallon,” she said.
• Maintain optimal tire pressure. This simple step will save $60 a year in gasoline, she said.
Laskoski said there is some modest good news. He said the spike in gas prices might be over but he predicts prices will continue to increase through April or May.