The average cost per smoker in Massachusetts each year is $43,319, according to a new report from the data experts at Wallethub.

The report – The Real Cost of Smoking by State – shows that smokers in Massachusetts pay the second most in the United States (only behind New York) for cigarettes and tobacco products per year and over the course of a lifetime — which totals more than $2.2 million.

Wallethub calculated the potential monetary losses — including both the lifetime and annual cost of a cigarette pack per day, health care expenditures, income losses and other costs — brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

To see where Massachusetts compared to other states, scroll the map below:

 

Source: WalletHub

For the second week in a row, gas prices in Massachusetts have gone up. This week, gas prices are up three cents following last week’s five cent increase.

“Crude oil prices rose almost 5 percent last week, and are pushing up prices at the pump as a result. We are starting 2018 with the highest beginning-of-the-year prices we’ve seen since 2014,” said Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Legislative Affairs for AAA Northeast.

AAA’s most recent survey finds that the range in prices across Massachusetts for unleaded regular is 42 cents, from a low of $2.37 to a high of $2.79.

The Massachusetts price is two cents below the national average for regular unleaded of $2.53. A year ago at this time, the average price in Massachusetts was 26 cents lower at $2.25.

Today’s local gas prices and their ranges are as follows:

Self Serve Grade

$2.51 ($2.37-$2.79) Regular Unleaded

$2.75 ($2.58-$2.99) Midgrade Unleaded

$2.94 ($2.68-$3.29) Premium Unleaded

$2.90 ($2.69-$3.01) Diesel

Holiday travel in the northeast helped keep gas prices in Massachuetts level for the start of the new year, according to a recent survey by AAA Northeast.
“Although prices at the pump nationally went up over the holidays, motorists can expect to see prices trend cheaper this month as we are likely to see a significant drop in gasoline demand with the holidays now in the rear view mirror,” said Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Legislative Affairs.
The Jan. 2 survey finds self-serve, regular unleaded gasoline averaging out at $2.43 per gallon — six cents below the national average of $2.49. In early January 2017, the average gas price was 16 cents lower in Massachusetts.
Today’s local gas prices and their ranges are as follows:
Self Serve Grade
$2.43 ($2.27-$2.79) Regular Unleaded
$2.70 ($2.47-$2.99) Midgrade Unleaded
$2.88 ($2.67-$3.25) Premium Unleaded
$2.86 ($2.69-$3.04) Diesel

WORCESTER – Although the city boasts nine colleges and universities and nearly 40,000 college students, a recent report has ranked Worcester among the worst “college cities” of more than 400 towns and cities in America.

The report — 2018’s Best College Towns and Cities — was created by the data experts at Wallethub and ranks Worcester #379 of 415 cities and towns in the United States.

Worcester ranked poorly among 28 key indicators — over three major categories of academic, social and economic opportunities — for students with data set ranges from cost of living to quality of higher education to crime rate.

Worcester came in at #250 for “Wallet-friendliness,” #222 for “Social Environment” and #377 for “Academic and Economic Opportunities.”

To compare Worcester to other towns and cities in America, scroll over the map below:

 

Source: WalletHub

Traffic is expected to be two times worse across Massachusetts next Thursday, Dec. 21, thanks to holiday travel ahead of the upcoming Christmas week.

According to AAA, of the 107.3 million Americans expected to travel from Saturday, Dec. 23 to Monday, Jan. 1, 2.3 million of the travelers will come from the Bay State — with 2 million traveling by car.

This year’s holiday travel will be the highest year-end travel volume on record.

“More expensive gas prices are not swaying holiday revelers to stay home,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Legislative Affairs. “In fact, across the board this year, travel has increased year-over-year for every major holiday weekend – Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving – and we project the same for the year-end holiday period. We’ve seen the strong economy and growing consumer confidence fuel holiday travel all year long.”

According to INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, the travel day with the heaviest amount of vehicles on the road in Massachusetts will be Thursday, Dec. 21 from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM.

“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays in major metros,” says Dr. Graham Cookson, chief economist & head of research at INRIX. “Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak times altogether or consider alternative routes.”

Gas prices across the Commonwealth are up one cent this week, according to a new report from AAA Northeast.

However, even with the increase, Massachusetts drivers can expect a drop in gas prices during the holiday season as the supply for gas strengthens and the fall demand weakens.

“Nationally, gas prices are 10 cents cheaper on the month and will continue to drop as we count down the days to the holidays,” said Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Legislative Affairs. “AAA expects gasoline demand to weaken throughout the winter, which translates to better prices at the pump.”

As of Dec. 11, Mass. gas prices for self-serve, regular unleaded is averaging at $2.49 per gallon — three cents above the national average .

Last year at this time, gas prices in the state were 32 cents lower at $2.17.

Today’s local gas prices and their ranges are as follows:

Self Serve Grade

$2.49 ($2.31-$2.79) Regular Unleaded

$2.76 ($2.55-$2.99) Midgrade Unleaded

$2.94 ($2.71-$3.25) Premium Unleaded

$2.77 ($2.69-$2.94) Diesel

On Monday evening, Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler (Worcester – D) released the following statement regarding the investigation of Senator Stanley Rosenberg and the sexual harassment accusations against Rosenberg’s husband, Bryon Hefner.

From Senator Chandler:

“The past four days have been turbulent, tragic, surprising, and sad.

We hear the victims and admire their courage in coming forward. No one who serves, works, or does business in the Massachusetts State House should feel unsafe, coerced, or unsupported. 

We welcome the proposal for investigations announced today by Attorney General Maura Healey and Suffolk District Attorney Dan Connelly. These investigations will address matters outside of the jurisdiction of the Senate, including criminal allegations. 

As resolved by the Senate, there will be an investigation by the Senate Committee on Ethics to determine if Senator Rosenberg violated any of the Rules of the Senate, including but not limited to Rule 10A. We expect the Ethics Committee to hire an outside independent investigator for this investigation.

The Senate accepted the letter from Senator Rosenberg, which requested a temporary leave of absence from the Senate Presidency during the course of these matters.

The Senate nominated and elected Senator Harriette Chandler as Acting President unanimously. 

We intend to comprehensively review the Senate’s sexual harassment policy. The Senate’s Special Sexual Harassment Committee is charged with conducting this review and recommending any necessary changes. 

The Senate is also committed to creating an independent reporting entity for those who have been harassed in order for victims to feel comfortable coming forward. There is no tolerance in the Senate for retaliatory behavior for anyone who comes forward.”

Gas prices in Massachusetts remain the same as last week and are averaging out at $2.48 per gallon for self-serve, regular unleaded — the same as the national average.

In early December 2016, gas prices in the Bay State averaged at 37 cents lower at $2.11 per gallon.

“While prices locally have come down from the post-Harvey highs, increases in crude oil prices from OPEC production cuts along with solid demand throughout the fall have kept them from tumbling further and quicker,” said Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Legislative Affairs. “We’re hopeful that cheaper winter gas prices are on our door step as current demand is hitting the lowest mark since back in February.”

The range in prices in the latest AAA survey for unleaded regular is 48 cents, from a low of $2.31 to a high of $2.79.

Today’s local gas prices and their ranges are as follows:

Self Serve Grade

$2.48 ($2.31-$2.79) Regular Unleaded

$2.72 ($2.52-$2.99) Midgrade Unleaded

$2.88 ($2.71-$3.25) Premium Unleaded

$2.78 ($2.69-$2.94) Diesel

The United States Attorney’s Office and the DEA’s New England Field Division have announced the launch of a state-wide opioid abuse prevention campaign — #ResistTheRisk — to educate the public and spark conversation about the dangers and consequences of abusing, selling and sharing prescription opioids.

Washburn House clients are working to recover from drug and alcohol addictions

“The goal of this campaign is to remind people about the dangers of abusing, selling and sharing opioids, including prescription pain pills.  Misusing prescription drugs is risky and illegal.  We must do more to deter people from misusing opioids, and we hope that increasing awareness will help people make better choices – to resist the risk,” said Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb.

The #ResistTheRisk campaign will utilize a multi-media strategy including print designs on MBTA subway lines and buses, and buses operated by Southeastern Regional Transit Authority and the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority. Also, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will engage in direct outreach with youth and will use online marketing.

“The DEA believes that a critical component to its role as the nation’s lead drug law enforcement agency is reducing the demand for drugs,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Ferguson.

“Opioid abuse is rampant in Massachusetts and throughout New England and many times the abuse of prescription opioids is a gateway to heroin and fentanyl addiction. DEA is proud to collaborate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on this campaign to encourage conversation and raise awareness about the dangers and consequences associated with the abuse of opioids,” Ferguson added.

According to a report from AAA Northeast, gas prices across Massachusetts are down five cents this week — averaging $2.48 per gallon for self-serve, regular unleaded gasoline.

Gas prices are three cents less in Massachusetts then compared to the national average for regular unleaded of $2.51. Last year at this time, the average gas price in Massachusetts was 42 cents lower.

Gas prices across the state for regular, unleaded range from $2.33 to $2.65.
Today’s local gas prices and their ranges are as follows:
Self Serve Grade
$2.48 ($2.33-$2.65) Regular Unleaded
$2.69 ($2.53-$2.99) Midgrade Unleaded
$2.86 ($2.73-$3.19) Premium Unleaded
$2.74 ($2.59-$2.99) Diesel