Gasoline prices continued to decline, pumping up consumers in much of Western Pennsylvania.

A gallon of unleaded self-serve averaged $3.001 in the region, a 2.9-cent decrease from last week, AAA East Central announced Monday afternoon. This is the fourth consecutive week fuel prices have fallen in the region, totaling 10.2 cents. This latest average is 14.6 cents lower than a year ago.

Washington’s price, however, dipped a slight 1.2 cents this week, from $3.045 to $3.033. That is the 15th-lowest price among 22 Western Pennsylvania cities and towns monitored by AAA.

Altoona, for the sixth week in a row, has the cheapest average at $2.747. Nine other towns are below $3.00.

Kittanning ($3.133) has the most expensive fuel, slightly higher than Warren ($3.129).

Pennsylvania’s average declined two cents to $2.95, but the Keystone State has the highest average among the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. All of those states are now below $3.00.

Gasoline stocks in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast fell by 500,000 barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. That small draw helped lower pump prices. And a promising sign for motorists: Regional refinery utilization rose to 92%, which could lead to a higher inventory. The late May inventory hasn’t been this low since 2015.

The national average dipped only two cents to $2.81, but commuters in much of the country are paying 23 cents less than they were a month ago. The U.S. average is down 13 cents a gallon from late May 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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