Pump prices continued to decline across Western Pennsylvania this week, although the dropoff was a mere trickle.

The average price of a gallon of unleaded self-serve dipped to $2.747, three-tenths of a cent down from $2.750 last week, AAA East Central announced Monday afternoon.

This is the eighth consecutive week prices have fallen across the region. Fuel has dropped 17.7 cents over the past five weeks, and the new average is 37.2 cents cheaper than it was a year ago, at $3.119.

Washington’s price dipped 0.6 cents over the week, from $2.716 to $2.710. That tied Clarion for seventh lowest among 22 Western Pennsylvania cities and towns monitored by AAA. Washington’s figure has dropped 26.2 cents over the past five weeks.

Altoona, for the 19th time in 20 weeks, has the cheapest gasoline in the region with an average of $2.566 – although that figure was up 3.3 cents from last week. Latrobe ($2.652) had the second-lowest average, followed by New Castle ($2.661). Uniontown ($2.681) was sixth.

Mercer ($2.905) has the most expensive gas, less than a penny higher than Warren ($2.899).

Fuel prices fell or held steady in all states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region, which includes Pennsylvania. Averages across the region are 22 to 55 cents cheaper than they were a year ago. They are down 36 cents in the Keystone State.

Regional gas inventory has risen over the past five weeks, from 59.1 million to 65 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. Regional refinery use also has increased, and those factors indicate that prices will drop or remain steady over the next week.

The national average dropped a penny to $2.56, which is 11 cents cheaper than a month ago and down 28 cents from a year ago. Half of all states experiended a two cents or more decrease this week.

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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