Yikes! Gasoline prices skyrocketed across Western Pennsylvania this week.

The average price of a gallon of unleaded self-serve jumped 15.9 cents to $2.265, from $2.106 a week ago, AAA East Central reported Monday afternoon. This week’s figure is 80.3 cents cheaper than it was the third week of May 2019, when fuel cost $3.068.

Pennsylvania’s average rose eight cents to $2.14, the largest increase among states in the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast region and the second-largest hike nationwide. This week’s figure is 41 cents cheaper than it was 11 weeks ago. Regional averages range from $1.71 in North Carolina to $2.17 in Washington, D.C. The District of Columbia, New York ($2.15) and Pennsylvania rank in the top 10 nationally.

The national figure rose three cents to $1.87 this week. This is the first time since 2003 that the U.S. average has been below $2 a gallon.

Locally, the city of Washington experienced a third straight weekly increase – a formidable 12.6 cents to $2.295 from $2.169. That is 3.0 cents above the Pittsburgh regional average, and ties Warren for the fourth highest among 22 Western Pennsylvania cities and towns monitored by AAA. The city’s average has fallen 47.4 cents since Jan. 1.

New Castle’s average went up more than 21 cents, but at $2.180, has the lowest price in the region for the eighth week. Clarion ($2.211) is second.

Uniontown’s average rose 9.8 cents to $2.278 from $2.180. Sharon and Oil City share the region’s highest price ($2.299).

Regional gasoline stocks increased slightly to 71 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. Refinery rates dropped a little below 50%.

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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