NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 20, 2013

More pain at the gas pump

As prices climb, locals pay higher than national average

(Continued)

As far as the difference between gas prices between Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Mabardy said, the difference in the gas tax is partly responsible.

New Hampshire’s gasoline tax is 38 cents per gallon, which includes 18.4 cents federal tax, while Massachusetts gasoline tax currently is 41.9 cents per gallon, including federal tax. The situation for diesel fuel is similar, at 44 cents per gallon combined with federal diesel tax of 24.4 cents in the Granite State, and 47.9 cents in Massachusetts, including federal tax.

Mabardy, who owns stations in Salisbury and Amesbury as well as in Seabrook, said another factor affecting prices in Massachusetts is that the cost of doing business in New Hampshire is lower. Fees and licensing tends to run higher in Massachusetts, he said, which makes overhead go up for fuel providers, and that’s passed along to consumers.

The difference in prices between stations in the same state in part can be attributed to the amount of gas stations pump. On the whole, high volume stations pay less per gallon from distributors for gas, and that savings can also be passed on to consumers, in the very competitive gas market.

And the type of gas pumped also makes a difference, Mabardy said, known in the business as branded or unbranded gasoline.

“Branded gas, like Sunoco, Mobil, BP or Shell for instance, cost more to buy from distributors than unbranded gas,” Mabardy said. “It’s the same as at the grocery store: Market Basket mayonnaise costs less than Hellmann’s or Cains.”

Whatever the reason for higher prices, Mabardy hasn’t noticed sales decreasing because prices are going up. But, what has affected business, he said, is construction.

“People don’t like traffic, and when there’s construction, there’s traffic, like the construction in Seabrook right now. That’s when I see (sales) volume drop,” Mabardy said. “The same thing happened when there was construction on Route 110. I’m glad that’s over.”

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