Gasoline prices in Western Pennsylvania have dropped for a third consecutive week, but the latest decline is marginal.

A gallon of unleaded self-serve dipped by an average of 2.0 cents this week, from $2.829 to $2.809, AAA East Central reported Monday afternoon.

The regional average has declined 7.5 cents over the past three weeks, and is 30.2 cents cheaper than it was a year ago, when the price stood at $3.111.

Washington’s average fell this week, but barely – 0.3 cents, from $2.739 to $2.736. That is the seventh-lowest price among 22 Western Pennsylvania cities and towns monitored by AAA. Washington’s figure has dropped 23.6 cents over the past nine weeks.

Altoona, for the 24th time in 25 weeks, has the cheapest gasoline in the region with an average of $2.602. New Castle ($2.634), Du Bois ($2.678) and Latrobe ($2.687) are the only other towns below $2.70. Uniontown and Pittsburgh are tied at 15th at $2.880.

Mercer ($2.964) has the most expensive fuel, slightly higher than Warren ($2.962).

Pennsylvania’s average declined two cents to $2.73 as, for the third week in a row, all states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region posted lower prices. The Keystone State’s figure, however, is the highest in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

After posting a 600,000-barrel increase last week, gasoline stocks fell by a formidable 1.4-million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. That dropped stocks to 63.4 million barrels. Regional refinery utilization plummeted from 67% to 60%, probably because of planned and unplanned maintenance. That dropoff may play havoc at the pump.

Gas prices, however, are generally decreasing nationwide, where the average dipped two cents to $2.63. That is six cents higher than a month ago, but 26 cents cheaper than mid-October 2018.

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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