Gasoline prices declined across Western Pennsylvania for a third consecutive week. This one, though, was a mini-dip.

A gallon of unleaded self-serve averages $2.993, a 1.7-cent decrease from a week ago, AAA East Central reported on Monday afternoon. The agency monitors weekly prices in 23 cities and towns in the region, where they had risen in 10 of the 11 weeks previous to this “run” of cheaper fuel. Many of those increases were sizable, though.

This week’s latest figure is 88 cents a gallon higher than it was a year ago, at $2.183.

The greater Washington area experienced another decline to $2.854. That is a four-cent dropoff, following a drop of 9.7 cents last week.

Washington’s average is the third-lowest in the region, trailing only Sharon ($2.727) and New Castle ($2.733). The city’s figure is 38.7 cents higher than it was when the year began.

Uniontown’s price fell 5.6 cents to $2.984, eighth-lowest regionally. Bradford, Mercer, Oil City and Warren have the region’s priciest petrol, all at $3.099 – the same as last week for each town.

The statewide average dropped by 1.5 cents to $2.978, which is 11 cents above the national figure of $2.87. The U.S. price increased by a penny, and is now 94 cents higher than a year ago. State-by-state prices, according to AAA, ranged from a 15-cent jump to a three-cent decrease.

The price of crude may keep the national average below $3. Crude, according to AAA, accounts for about 60% of the pump price, and its cost has fallen from a 12-month high of $66 a gallon a month ago to $60.

Business Writer

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won eight individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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