Pump prices have topped $3 per gallon throughout most of Western Pennsylvania.

A gallon of unleaded self-serve rose above that lofty regional plateau this week, to an average of $3.051, AAA East Central reported on Monday. That is an 8.4-cent bump from a week ago, and the ninth increase over the past 10 weeks across the western half of the state.

Western Pennsylvania’s average has jumped 57.3 cents over those 10 weeks, and is 44.7 cents higher than it was a year ago – at $2.604.

AAA monitors weekly prices in 23 cities and towns across the region, and 21 of those locales posted averages above $3.

The agency attributes this latest increase to refinery utilization skidding to an all-time low and crude oil prices leaping to $66 per barrel, the highest level in about two years.

Once again, prices jumped in the greater Washington area, where the average climbed another 7.2 cents to $3.030 per gallon. Washington’s figure has risen 76.3 cents since the beginning of the year, with 45% of that increase occurring just over the past three weeks.

Central Washington County’s average, however, ties DuBois for the fifth lowest in this part of Pennsylvania.

New Castle ($2.974) has the region’s cheapest petrol, followed by Clarion ($2.998). Warren ($3.098) has the priciest price. A mere 12.4 cents separate the highest and lowest averages.

Uniontown’s price bumped up 7.8 cents to $3.063, 14th lowest regionally.

Pennsylvania’s average increased by 4.4 cents to $2.994. That is 22 cents higher than the U.S. figure, which jumped five cents to $2.77. The U.S. average has risen 31 cents over the past month.

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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