For only the second time in 12 weeks, gasoline prices declined in Western Pennsylvania.

A gallon of unleaded self-serve averages $3.036 across the region this week, AAA East Central reported. That is a 2.9-cent decrease from a week ago. This latest figure, however, is 67.8 cents higher than it was a year ago, $2.358.

AAA monitors weekly prices in 23 cities and towns, and 17 of those locales posted averages above $3 this week. The greater Washington area is among them, at $2.991 – fifth lowest in the region and a 7.3-cent dropoff from $3.064. The city’s average has risen 52.4 cents since the beginning of the year.

Uniontown’s price dipped 2.5 cents to $3.038, which ranks 11th regionally.

New Castle ($2.849) has the cheapest fuel, followed by Sharon ($2.932) Clarion ($2.958). Mercer and Oil City ($3.099) have the priciest petrol.

The statewide average likewise dropped, by 4.3 cents to $3.022. That is 14 cents higher than the U.S. figure ($2.88), which is at its highest level since May 2019.

AAA attributes the dropoff in price volatility to a decline in demand, along with an increase in supply and refinery utilization. The Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that demand decreased from 8.7 million barrels per day to 8.4 million, while supply rose from 231.6 million barrels to 232 million.

The agency added that crude oil prices have dipped, amid market concerns that demand may drop off in countries that are resuming restrictions following increases in coronavirus infections.

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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