Gasoline prices have tumbled for a fifth consecutive week in Western Pennsylvania.

The average price of a gallon of unleaded self-serve dropped 5.0 cents from last week, from $2.861 to $2.811, AAA East Central announced Monday afternoon. Fuel across the region has dropped 11.3 cents over the past two weeks, and the new average is 28.7 cents cheaper than it was a year ago, at $3.098.

Washington’s price plummeted 10.8 cents over the week, from to $2.942 to $2.834. That ranks 14th among 22 Western Pennsylvania cities and towns monitored by AAA. Washington’s figure has dropped 13.8 cents over the past two weeks.

For the 16th time in 17 weeks, Altoona has the cheapest fuel in the region with an average of $2.533. That is 12.4 cents cheaper than the area with the second-lowest average, Du Bois ($2.657).

Warren ($2.941) has the most expensive gas, slightly higher than Mercer ($2.926) and Sharon ($2.915).

Pennsylvania’s average declined four cents to $2.78, as prices declined in all states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region.

Gasoline stocks grew by 500,000 barrels in the region, according to the Energy Information Administration. Imports accounted for the majority of that bump, as refinery use fell again. The imports are needed to make up for the loss of supply following the shutdown of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery a month ago.

Gasoline demand, nationally, has hit a peak, according to EIA. The agency said demand last week hit 9.93 billion barrels a day, the highest level since EIA began keeping statistics in 1991.

The national average fell three cents to $2.61, which is 22 cents cheaper than a year ago. AAA reported that about half of all gas stations nationwide are selling fuel at $2.50 or below.

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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