EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

February 20, 2013

Soaring gas prices are a pain in the wallet

People are fuming when fueling up

Paying for gasoline at the pumps is painful enough, especially when the price soars nearly 32 cents in a single month.

Gas prices in Southern New Hampshire have been on the rise with little relief in sight, climbing to $3.79 per gallon at several stations in Derry and Londonderry yesterday.

That’s well above the statewide average of $3.72 a gallon for regular unleaded and the national average of $3.70, according to Patrick DeHaan, a petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.

“We have had some significant, sizable jumps across the country,” he said.

Perhaps the only good news, he said, is that the price is not likely to exceed $4 a gallon — though it may come close.

“New Hampshire may escape $4,” DeHaan said, “but I would expect to see it in the high $3 range through the summer.”

That’s not what people gassing up in Londonderry wanted to hear yesterday.

They were hoping for relief from the rising prices, which included regular unleaded for only $3.40 a gallon exactly a month ago. Just since last week, the average price statewide rose 6 cents a gallon.

“It’s up, then it’s down — who knows?” said Gil Merolli, 55, of Derry. “It’s crazy. Years ago, it hardly ever changed. It’s all politics.”

Ryan Robinson, 37, of Derry said he’s spending about $200 a week to fuel up his two pickup trucks and wants to know why the prices are rising

“It doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said.

DeHaan said the price hikes are due to a number of factors, especially increased speculation in fuel futures and the closure of major refineries for annual maintenance.

He expects prices to drop slightly in two or three weeks, but to rise again this spring.

The escalating prices are having a real impact on small companies that rely heavily on fuel to operate. That includes snowplow operators such as Dan Mastrocola of Plaistow, who must wait to be reimbursed for his fuel costs.

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