The cost of regular, unleaded gasoline in Rhode Island held steady from last week’s rate, but the state’s consumers are still paying four cents more for than the national average of $3.67 and three cents more than Massachusetts drivers, according to AAA Southern New England’s weekly survey.
As the summer travel season kicks off, Rhode Island’s gas prices were up 9 cents from last year’s figures.
During Memorial Day weekend, drivers across the nation paid slightly more for gasoline than in the past two years (however, the price was down 13 cents from 2011, when prices were still at an all-time high). Despite that, consumers in Alaska, California and Hawaii paid more than $4 per gallon for the first time in 2014.
New Hampshire is the only state in New England with average prices below $3.65. Connecticut pays the most for regular gas, spending $3.92 per gallon. Rhode Island has the third highest gas prices in New England, paying 11 cents more than New Hampshire at $3.71 per gallon, which is one cent less expensive than Vermont. Massachusetts and Maine are tied at $3.68.
According to AAA, elevated global oil prices are a contributor to the current increase. On June 1, West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at $102.71 per barrel, marking the beginning of the fourth straight week that WTI closed at more than $100 per barrel.
However, the U.S. Energy Information Administration Short-Term Energy Outlook conducted in May predicts that prices are currently peaking and will undergo a gradual decline for the rest of the summer.
AAA also noted that simmering geopolitical tensions, particularly those in Ukraine and Libya will impact global supply.
In lieu of the heightened gas prices during these popular traveling months, AAA of Southern New England recommends using its “fuel price finder” to receive up-to-date gas prices in the local area so consumers can plan trips and fill-ups accordingly.