During a summer in which gasoline prices were expected to rise along with the heat, they’ve fallen for a fourth consecutive week in Western Pennsylvania.

The average price of a gallon of unleaded self-serve declined 6.3 cents from last week, from $2.924 to $2.861, AAA East Central announced Monday afternoon. Fuel across the region is 25.2 cents cheaper than it was a year ago, when it was at $3.113.

Washington’s price fell 3.0 cents over the week, from to $2.972 to $2.942. But that is the third-highest average among 22 Western Pennsylvania cities and towns monitored by AAA. Washington’s figure has gone up 9.1 cents over the past eight weeks.

For the 15th time in 16 weeks, Altoona has the cheapest fuel in the region with an average of $2.556. That is 12.2 cents cheaper than the area with the second-lowest average, Du Bois ($2.678).

Sharon ($2.976) has the most expensive gas, followed by Warren ($2.959). The average for all 22 areas is below $3.00.

Pennsylvania’s figure declined a nickel to $2.82, as prices declined in all states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region. Decreases there, however, averaged four cents, much lower than other regions, where the cost plummeted 10 cents or more.

Prices in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are likely to drop some more, as inventory increased by about 2 million barrels from last week, the largest bump upward of any region, according to the Energy Information Administration. Imports accounted for much of that jump, as refinery use fell 2% in the region.

The national average fell seven cents from last week to $2.64, which is 21 cents cheaper than a year ago.

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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