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Gas prices in Mass. down 11 cents from last week

Gas prices are dropping steadily, according to AAA.

Hand pumping gas
The average gas price in Massachusetts has gone down 11 cents in the past week. The Associated Press

Massachusetts residents are finally starting to see some relief at the pump.

AAA said in a news release Monday that the average price per gallon of unleaded gas in Massachusetts dropped 11 cents week over week.

On Tuesday, according to AAA’s gas price tracker, the average gas price in the state was $4.62 per gallon, down from $4.73 per gallon on Tuesday the week before.

While gas prices are still nowhere near as low as they were this time last year at $3.027 per gallon, they’re significantly lower than where they were this time last month, when the average price was $5.01 per gallon.

AAA said in the release that the steady decline in gas prices is due to a decline in domestic demand for gasoline at the pump, and a lower global price for oil. It said that the cost of a barrel of oil is now in the mid-$90s, down from around $110 two weeks ago.

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“Global economic news is pushing oil prices lower, and less expensive oil leads to lower pump prices,” Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Government Affairs, said in the release.

“And here at home, people are fueling up less, despite this being the height of the traditional summer driving season. These two key factors are behind the recent drop in pump prices.”

The national average gas price has dropped even more than the average gas price in Massachusetts. The current average gas price in the country is $4.495 per gallon, down 16 cents from a week ago.

Within Massachusetts, Nantucket and Dukes Counties continue to have the highest average gas prices, at $5.837 and $5.612 per gallon, respectively, while Hampshire and Hampden Counties continue to have the lowest gas prices, at $4.474 and $4.404 per gallon, respectively.

Child and pet passenger heatstroke reminder

Amidst high temperatures, AAA is reminding drivers not to leave children or pets alone in their cars.

According to the national non-profit Kids and Cars Safety, so far this year, 11 children have died of heatstroke in a hot car.

In 2018, the safety organization said, the number of children dying of heatstroke in hot cars reached a 30-year high with 54 deaths that year, contributing to the nearly 1,000 children that have died of heatstroke in a hot car over the last three decades.

Heatstroke Calendar En by Susannah Sudborough on Scribd

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when a child is left in a hot vehicle, their temperature can rise quickly, and they can die within minutes.

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Heatstroke begins when one’s core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees, the NHTSA said. A child can die when their body temperature reaches 107 degrees.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), temperatures inside vehicles can reach life-threatening levels even on cloudy or mild days, and leaving windows slightly open doesn’t help.

There are three common scenarios that lead to children dying of heatstroke in a car, AAA said.

The first and most common, accounting for 53% of deaths, is when a caregiver forgets a child in their car, usually because the family routine was different that day and they were not usually responsible for the child at that time, AAA said.

The second most common scenario, accounting for 26% of deaths, is when a child gets into a car and their caregiver is unaware of this, AAA said. This can happen when a child gets in the backseat or trunk of a car while playing, such as during a game of hide and seek.

The third most common scenario, accounting for 20% of deaths, is when a caregiver knowingly leaves a child in a car, typically to run a quick errand or let a child finish a nap, AAA said.

There is no safe amount of time to leave a child in a vehicle, the NSC says.

NHTSA Tips to prevent caregivers from leaving a child in a hot car:

1. Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended, even if the windows are partially open and the air conditioning is on.

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2. Make it a habit of checking your entire vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away.

3. Ask your childcare provider to call if your child doesn’t show up as expected. 

4. Place a personal item that you need when you get to your destination, such as a purse or briefcase, in the backseat, as another reminder to look around the whole car before you leave it. 

5. Write a note or place a stuffed animal in the passenger’s seat to remind you that a child is in the backseat.

The NHTSA said it’s important for all adults, including those not caring for children, to always lock their cars and trunks to prevent children from getting in, and that parents should teach their children that a car is not a play area.

The NHTSA urges anyone who finds a child or pet alone in a locked car to call 911 immediately, get the child or pet out of the car, and try to cool them down.

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