As the average price for gasoline fell to $3.95 per gallon nationwide on Thursday, Maine’s gas prices have lagged behind, averaging around $4.35 per gallon, according to GasBuddy, which tracks gas prices nationwide.

The state’s gas prices have been above the national average since early May. They peaked in June at $5.09, the highest average per-gallon cost on record for the state and seven cents above the national average at the time.


Brandon Champion, who was cleaning his car at a Sunoco gas station in Portland on Thursday, is glad the price of gas has dropped but said it’s still high and because of that he tries to run multiple errands on the same trip.

“Any little bit helps,” said Champion, a teacher at Windham High School. He noted, however, that “I might be paying $7 per tank less than what I was last month, but I’m still paying $25 more per tank than I was a year and half ago.”

Jeff Burchard, who was filling up his tank, concurred.


“It’s come down a little I guess, but not enough,” Burchard said. “$80 to fill up a minivan is way too high.”

Maine’s tax on gasoline doesn’t account for the state’s higher price. Maine’s gas tax is 30 cents per gallon, which is just above the national average of 29 cents. New Hampshire charges a tax of 22 cents per gallon and Massachusetts charges 24 cents per gallon, while Vermont charges 32 cents.

There isn’t a clear reason why the state is seeing higher gas prices than the national average, but several industry experts said the Northeast generally has higher gas prices than the rest of the nation.

Denton Cinquegrana, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, said gasoline and diesel supplies are lower than usual in the Northeast, partly because the region has fewer oil refineries and less storage capacity than in the past. For example, a Canadian refinery called Come By Chance is now transitioning into becoming a green diesel plant, he said, and will likely export renewable diesel to California instead of gasoline and diesel to New England.

“Now, you have a particular situation where suppliers in the Northeast and New England are almost going hand to mouth when it comes to gasoline and diesel,” Cinquegrana said.

Real estate and labor costs, which are higher in the Northeast than other regions like the South, also could be a factor, Cinquegrana said.


Pat Moody, a Northern New England spokesperson for AAA, said how the gasoline is getting transported also can be a reason for higher prices in the region.

“Most of our fuel in the Northeast is delivered by a ship, and it’s not through pipelines,” Moody said. “Transporting it on trucks or ships … it’s going to be more expensive than when you’re transporting it in pipelines.”


Charlie Summers, president and CEO of the Maine Energy Marketers Association, believes the state average will more closely reflect the national average as the summer ends.

“A lot of what you’re seeing is driven by competition,” Summers said. “Different areas of Maine are seeing different pricing.”

Craig Cobbett, owner of a Portland taxi company, thinks it’s price gouging.

“They don’t go off what they’re paying for fuel prices … they just look at what everybody else is selling it at and they just mark it down a couple cents under that,” Cobbett said. “There’s no reason that somebody’s paying 70 cents more at one station than another within a couple miles of each other.”

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