Gas prices reach year high in R.I.

Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gas prices broke the $3 mark in Rhode Island last week before the beginning of Thanksgiving break and continue to climb statewide. Prices are at their highest so far this year, according to the American Automobile Association of Southern New England.

The average price for regular unleaded gasoline in Rhode Island is $3.041 per gallon as of Nov. 29. That price is two cents more than last week’s average, and compares to $2.66 per gallon one year ago. In the midst of travel plans and Thanksgiving preparations, state gas prices settled at 19 cents more per gallon than the national average, according to a Nov. 29 AAA press release.

Despite higher costs, the price of gas has not affected University transportation services such as safeRIDE. University services already have price fluctuations accounted for in their budgets, wrote Elizabeth Gentry, assistant vice president of financial and administrative services, in an e-mail to The Herald.

Continued and extreme price increases could force the Office of Transportation to reevaluate its budget, but “this has never happened,” Gentry wrote.

Kate Alexander ’12 drove with her parents from Providence to upstate New York over Thanksgiving break, refueling in Massachusetts, where the average price has steadily increased since September. But gas prices played little role in her travel plans.

Alexander’s parents, who are from California, expressed no surprise at New England gas prices, as the average price of a gallon of gas in California is consistently above three dollars per gallon, she wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

Allegra Pincus ’11 remained on-campus over Thanksgiving break and mostly drove to local destinations. She rarely pays close attention to gas prices unless they spike, she wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

When she does go home, Pincus wrote, driving is often cheaper and more convenient than taking the train. But high gas prices might prove beneficial if they made alternatives like public transportation more viable, she wrote. “If anything, I want a sharp increase in gas taxes.”

Rhode Island state taxes and fees on gasoline — 33 cents per gallon — are 11th highest in the nation, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute. Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 has proposed an additional 1 percent sales tax on gasoline.

Prices in the state have risen 16 cents in the last four weeks and 38 cents in the last two months, when prices were some of the year’s lowest so far at $2.64 per gallon, according to a Nov. 22 AAA press release.

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