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Gas prices tick down to $5.00 a gallon in Massachusetts: ‘We may see below $5 in the next week’

Prices edged down 4 cents during the last week

(062022 Boston, MA):  gas prices on Monday,June 20, 2022 in Boston, MA.  (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
(062022 Boston, MA): gas prices on Monday,June 20, 2022 in Boston, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Drivers aren’t exactly cheering as they head past their local gas station, but pump prices are finally moving in the right direction across the Bay State.

The average gas price for regular in Massachusetts ticked down 4 cents in the last week to $5 a gallon, according to AAA Northeast. The state’s average gas price hit an all-time record a week ago when it was $5.04 per gallon.

“It’s encouraging to see prices finally edge down,” Mark Schieldrop of AAA Northeast told the Herald on Monday. “We may see below $5 in the next week.”

Prices have skyrocketed in the last few months following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. and other countries have banned Russian oil.

Gas is now 70% more expensive than this time last year, when the average for regular in Massachusetts was $2.95 a gallon.

The average in the Bay State was $4.73 a month ago, and the hope is that last week’s downward trend continues to move prices back toward that.

“Down is obviously a good direction, but the forces pushing prices down aren’t really sunshine and rainbows,” Schieldrop said, noting that there is “economic pessimism” in the markets. “There are worries that the economy is heading for a recession.”

Oil prices have been falling a bit, and gas demand in the U.S. has declined slightly.

“That drop coupled with the Fed rate hike and the overall increasing sentiment that we’re heading to a recession are fueling this dip in prices,” Schieldrop added.

The Fourth of July is traditionally a big time for travel. AAA is closely watching what will happen with gas demand ahead of the holiday.

“If demand continues to slide despite it being a busy travel weekend, then it will be a clear signal that demand is going down and that should ease prices,” Schieldrop said.

Gas prices usually go down throughout the summer months, he added.

While the average for regular is $5.00 across the state, some regions are continuing to see much higher prices. The average in Suffolk County is $5.16 a gallon, while pump prices on Martha’s Vineyard are $6.04 per gallon and on Nantucket are $6.12 a gallon.

The lowest average prices in Massachusetts are in the western part of the state: Hampden County and Franklin County prices have dropped to $4.91 a gallon.