Gas prices on the rise again; what’s fueling the surge?

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 5:02 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 31, 2023 at 5:37 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Motorists are feeling more pain at the pumps as gas prices slowly creep up again. While they’re not at the highs we saw last summer, experts say they might not be done rising.

Ron Doyle wasn’t very happy to see prices creeping up again as he filled his tank at a Montpelier gas station.

“I think it’s terrible. You know if the prices go up, everything else goes up,” said Doyle of Waterbury. “It affects the way that we go out. How often we go out, how many trips we take out of the house. We try to get everything accomplished and as few trips as possible in order to save.”

According to AAA, diesel prices in Vermont have remained steady in the last month at $5 per gallon and are down more than $1 from their highest recorded price of almost $6.50 in May.

The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Vermont is $3.37 now, up 15 cents just since Christmas. That’s still well below the peak of $5 we hit in June.

But Dan Goodman of AAA Northern New England says it will get worse before it gets better.

“The gas prices aren’t great news for motorists,” Goodman said. “I don’t foresee any change in the gas prices. I still think it’s going to continue to creep up. Vermonters are paying a few pennies more than they were yesterday.”

Goodman says the increase is due to a surge in the amount of activity on the roads at the beginning of December leading into January. He also says refineries were producing less gas at the time. And Vermonters spend more on gas because we drive so much and there is less competition in rural areas.

This can also cause problems for small businesses. John Stead is a plumber who owns his own business. He says he rejects some jobs because he needs to save on gas.

“We rely on transportation so much to get around, especially in the trades, like carpenters, plumbers. I am reluctant to take jobs any distance away. I’m trying to keep close around Montpelier. Otherwise, it adds another $20 onto the service call,” Stead said.

Others don’t mind the uptick.

“I think it’s just part of the game,” said Eric Murray of Barre. “I think it’s going to go up and down with the winter and holidays. Hopefully, it will come back down and stay down.”

AAA says to save on gas, you should plan your trips, watch your speed and always anticipate road conditions.