Gov. Janet Mills speaks outside of the Maine Organic Marketplace opening ceremony on Friday in Freeport. C. Thacher Carter / The Times Record

Gov. Janet Mills said Mainers worried about taking a financial hit because of the global supply chain crisis ought to buy local this holiday season.

“I know many Maine people are worried that supply chain shortages will slow down shopping this holiday season, and I share that concern – everyone does,” Mills said Thursday at the opening of The Maine Organic Marketplace, a new store in Freeport that will sell sustainable goods sourced from Maine. “But the good news is you don’t have to worry about that if you shop local at stores like this one as I do every holiday season. Spend your hard-earned money here in Maine on products our farmers worked harder than ever before to create.”

“People know now that Maine made is high grade and they look for ‘made in Maine’ on so many products,” Mills said.

Data from a U.S. Census Bureau survey that took place in May and June showed that over 50% of respondents in retail trade reported experiencing domestic supply delays. Retail businesses ranked third highest in reporting delays in the survey, with construction second and manufacturing first.

Earlier this month, The Times Record reported the current supply chain challenges can be attributed to a compounding number of factors exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples include a truck driver shortage and demand exceeding infrastructure capacity at ports.

A recent report from the Associated Press also noted that consumer spending is also contributing to the global supply chain problem and that, in turn, is driving inflation. The AP noted that unless consumer demand abates, it may not be until 2023 until the supply chains begin to return to normal.

Another AP report released Thursday afternoon noted that, nationally, “consumer inflation has reached the highest level in 31 years, at 6.2%.”

The supply chain bottleneck is also impacting heating fuel costs. As Maine enters another heating season, heating oil prices could increase between 30% and 60%.

As of Nov. 15, the statewide average cost of heating oil was $3.16 per gallon, a dramatic rise considering the unusually low cost of oil a year ago. In October 2020, the statewide average was $1.89. Three-fifths of Maine households use oil as their primary heat source.

Asked to comment on the situation Thursday, Mills said that Mainers must become less reliant on fossil fuels.

“The fossil fuel companies in this world have a stranglehold on Maine people and main families and that’s got to stop,” Mills said. “We’ve got to untie our livelihoods and our lives from the fossil fuel industry. And we’re this administration is doing everything we can within our power to make that happen by, or instance, helping install up to 100,000 heat pumps in the next couple of years. We did 28,000 last year alone and helping weatherize people’s homes. Maine has the oldest housing stock in the country. We love these old homes, but let’s get them weatherized, insulated.”

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