High Gas Prices in NH: Are There Solutions?

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Gasoline was $4.29 a gallon at the Concord Mobil where Kathie Ricker stopped on Tuesday afternoon.

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Like many Granite Staters, Ricker has felt the local impacts of global shifts in energy markets. On Tuesday, the posted price of gasoline reached records across the United States as crude oil prices surged following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ricker shares his car with his daughter to manage the expenses, and she said the two let the tank get low enough before refueling. But, she says, she is ready to pay higher prices to support Ukrainian citizens during the war.

“These people in Ukraine are suffering, they are suffering daily,” she said. “Of course, filling up is expensive, but these people are suffering so much and I’m fine with paying more at the pump.”

Ricker said if prices go up again, she’ll start planning her car trips more consciously. Client Luke Little is already part of it.

As Little stopped at Speedway in Concord on Tuesday for an afternoon recharge, he said he began to consider cutting longer trips.

“The prices are completely crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them that high,” he said. “It makes me rethink my travel plans. I had to visit friends in New York this weekend and almost canceled the trip due to gas prices.

President Biden warned on Tuesday that gas prices could continue to climb when he announced a ban on Russian energy imports – oil, liquefied natural gas and coal. All four members of the New Hampshire congressional delegation supported bipartisan efforts to ban Russian energy imports.

Delegation members also pushed federal efforts to mitigate the impact of gas prices on Granite Staters.

“We must do all we can…including releasing additional barrels from our strategic reserves, encouraging leaseholders to make full use of existing permits, holding oil companies accountable and suspending the gas tax to provide relief to families. of Granite State,” said Rep. Chris Pappas, a Democrat.

In February, Senator Maggie Hassan called for a suspension of the federal gasoline tax. Hassan also lobbied for the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which the US Department of Energy announcement Last week.

Governor Chris Sununu has used soaring global oil prices to push for increased domestic fossil fuel production, joining 24 other governors in a statement to President Biden, who claimed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and d Other efforts to support fossil fuel development would protect national energy security. . The letter also called on Biden to “[remove] its bans on new oil and gas development on federal lands.

Like NPR reportsthe Biden administration approved more oil and gas drilling permits on public lands per month than former President Donald Trump did in his first three years, according to an analysis by a liberal advocacy group.

In the letter, the 24 governors tied domestic fossil fuel developments to prices at the pump – but approving oil and gas projects in the United States would have no near-term impact on fuel prices, according to energy analysts interviewed by NPR.

Projects like the Keystone XL pipeline would commit the United States to emitting even more greenhouse gases. The latest IPCC climate change report showed the disastrous consequences that new emissions could have for humans.

The U.S. Department of Energy said in a statement last week that investing in clean energy, rather than developing fossil fuels, “offers the surest path to a world where energy supply cannot be used as a means of political coercion or a threat to national security, and where families and businesses are protected from price and market volatility.

The Department of Energy says these technologies are available and cost-effective right now. But in New Hampshire, there are more immediate and simpler ways to mitigate the effects of rising gas prices.

For Matt Baronas, a planner with the Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission, the higher prices provide an opportunity to shift commuting habits toward carpooling.

In his work with Commute Smart New Hampshire, he says he’s already seen greater interest in ridesharing this month, which he says is due to rising costs.

“Carpools and carpools are a huge opportunity for people to start saving money,” he said.

Carpooling can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which come mainly from transport in New Hampshire.

Baronas said one way to encourage carpooling is to collaborate with co-workers and employers to see if others are interested.

“Especially with rising gas prices, maybe this is an opportunity to rally around something like this, even if it’s financially motivated,” Baronas said.

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