AAA: Lower Demand Could Put “Downward Pressure” On Mass. Gas Prices

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BOSTON (State House News Service) — The latest increase in gas prices means motorists in Massachusetts are now paying $1.33 more per gallon than they were paying at this time last year.

AAA Massachusetts reported Monday morning that gas prices rose 2 cents to an average of $3.38 per gallon in the group's latest weekly survey. In the last month, the average price of a gallon of gas has increased by 24 cents.

"Many people mourn the end of Daylight Saving Time, with its earlier sunsets," said AAA's Mary Maguire. "But when darkness falls earlier, demand for gasoline often drops as well, because people tend to head straight home from work rather than go out in the evening. And that falling demand often puts downward pressure on prices at the pump."

Gas prices may influence buying patterns as the state looks to boost electric vehicle sales to aid carbon reduction efforts. The debate over gas prices has also played a role as states consider the formation of a multi-state pact, which is being led by Massachusetts, to reduce transportation emissions.

While Transportation Climate Initiative supporters say states need to force transportation sector emission reductions if they are serious about combating climate change and global warming, opponents say the likelihood that TCI will drive up gas prices is one reason more states haven't embraced the idea.

Supporters of an initiative petition designed to derail TCI in Massachusetts face a critical signature-filing deadline on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of gas is $3.42, the highest level since September 2014. The automobile organization said the decision by OPEC and its oil-producing allies "to maintain their planned gradual increase in output will not help lessen supply constraints, so any relief will most likely have to come from the demand side."

Written by Michael P. Norton/SHNS

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