There Once Was a Motorist From Nantucket

$3-a-gallon gas comes to Massachusetts

MARTHA'S VINEYARD, Mass. -- For the first time, gasoline prices have risen above the $3 mark at gas stations on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket in Massachusetts, reported the Boston Herald.

At the Edgartown Mobil on Martha's Vineyard over the weekend, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline sold for $3.20, special unleaded sold for $3.27, super-plus unleaded sold for $3.34 and diesel sold for $3. On Nantucket, motorists paid $3.15 for a gallon of regular unleaded at Nantucket Mobil.

"Any station you are going to today, it's the [image-nocss] most that station has ever charged in its existence,'' Art Kinsman, spokesperson for AAA Southern New England, told the newspaper.

Although Kinsman said island gasoline prices are typically 50 cents per gallon higher than the rest of the Bay State, that is no guarantee that $3 gasoline will stay offshore. "Right now, we have to keep an eye on crude oil prices. They are surging toward $70 a gallon. If they get over $70 a gallon, then anything could happen,'' he said.

Pump prices already have surpassed $3 in New York City after a Brooklyn station charged $3.20 for regular unleaded, the report said.

The price of a gallon of self-serve, regular unleaded was an average of $2.47 in Boston on Saturday, according to AAA. A year ago, it cost the average motorist $29.95 to fill up. Today, that average is $36.33.

"This is such a volatile time and it just seems like every week that the slightest aberration in the oil market causes the prices to up. It's like the market is feeding on itself,'' said Kinsman, who noted that anything from a hurricane to terrorism threats in Saudi Arabia can send fuel prices skyrocketing.

On Nantucket, where there are four gas stationsall Mobilislanders try to avoid the high prices by ferrying their vehicles to the mainland to fuel up, the Herald said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Representative Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) has released a report, Running on Empty: The Impact of Increased Gasoline Prices on Family Budgets in Massachusetts, showing that Massachusetts drivers will pay $405 million more for gasoline this summer than last year. The report, prepared by Meehan's office, shows an average increase in monthly gasoline costs of $172 per two-car family this summer.

The Associated Press released a new survey showing 61% of Americans concerned about the impact of gasoline prices on their personal finances--up from 51% in April.

Consumers in Massachusetts continue to feel the burden of rising prices at the pump, while President Bush's friends in the oil industry reap windfall profits for another summer," Meehan said. "President Bushclaimed that he woulddevelop a national energy policy to get prices down. Instead, hehas rewarded hisfriends inBig Energyby inviting their lobbyists toroll backour environmental laws to increase their profits.

He added: "Last month, Congress passed an energy bill thatdoes nothing to increase mileage standards or find a solution to the energy crisis facing this nation.Instead of addressing issues important to consumers, the bill wasloaded with pork for energy companies and other special interests. It's outrageous to do nothing when people in Massachusetts are paying 52 cents more per gallon than they were a year ago. It's time for a national energy policy that lowers prices on consumers and reduces our dependence on Middle East oil.

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