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July 20, 2013

More pain at the gas pump

As prices climb, locals pay higher than national average

Consumers should be used to it by now, but the sharp rise in the price of oil and gas in the past two weeks once again has drivers panicking at the pumps.

With the price of a gallon of regular up about 19 cents in the last week, right in the middle of the busiest driving season of the year, drivers are grumbling again. But there’s little to do other than pay higher prices or cut back on non-essential trips.

According to, the average price of a gallon of regular in Massachusetts yesterday was $3.73. Prices in Newburyport were a tad higher at $3.79 a gallon. Both state and local prices were higher than the average in the U.S., which was $3.68 a gallon. But all of it is up considerably from the same time last year, when gas averaged $3.55 a gallon in the state and $3.47 nationwide.

In nearby New Hampshire, Granite State drivers have it a little better, but not much. In Seabrook, four stations were sporting prices of $3.63 per gallon on Friday, up four cents since Monday, while across the state, gas was averaging $3.68 a gallon.

According to the Associated Press, what made prices shoot up this time is political tensions in Egypt, coupled with the increased demand for gas during the summer driving season.

Charlie Mabardy, owner of Mabardy Oil which has gas stations in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts, agrees with that theory.

“As soon as the trouble in Egypt took place, gas prices shot up 6 or 7 cents the next day,” Mabardy said. “But I”m also being told that there’s issues at the (gas) refineries.”

Egypt, although not one of the largest oil producers in the Middle East, controls the Suez Canal. The canal connects water transportation between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Without it, tankers would be forced to travel all the way around Africa to get crude to the world’s major markets, a much longer and more expensive trip.

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