Gas prices are rising quickly, despite increased production here at home.

The average price per gallon of gasoline has exceeded $2.70 per gallon nationwide, and is expected to increase as the warmer months approach. That has prompted experts to predict more families will be forced to take "staycations" rather than travel for vacations this year.

Gas prices could reach levels not seen since 2014.

Much of the reason for the increase in gas prices has been increased global demand, in part due to better economic times. But also, OPEC (oil-producing) nations, including Russia, began reducing their output about two years ago to address a glut of oil in the world marketplace which was driving down per barrel prices.

All of this could change, should higher prices drive down consumption and result in stockpiles, and then lower prices at the pump once more.

Groups like as AAA say there is something we can do to help drive down prices: drive less. Summertime presents more opportunities to walk or ride your bicycle. Combine errands in order to make fewer trips that will waste gas. Search out day trip destinations, rather than planning long distance driving adventures. And shop for the lowest prices you can find. This forces the high-end gas stations to reduce their prices in order to remain competitive.

Consumers have power. When we exercise our collective power, we can have an impact.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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