Gasoline prices have risen for a second consecutive week in Western Pennsylvania, and are expected to continue upward.

The average price for a gallon of unleaded self-serve rose 6.4 cents this week, to $2.948, AAA East Central announced Monday afternoon. That average has jumped 9.8 cents over the past two weeks, after falling 25.3 cents over the previous six weeks.

Yet despite this latest bump, the regional average is 10.5 cents lower than it was a year ago.

Washington’s price went up again this week, by 4.7 cents, to $2.957 from $2.910. That is the 10th-lowest average among 22 Western Pennsylvania cities and towns monitored by AAA. Washington’s figure has gone up 10.6 cents over the past two weeks.

Meadville has the cheapest gasoline in the region, with an average of $2.824 – ending Altoona’s nine-week stranglehold on that designation. Fuel rose 10.4 cents in Altoona this week, to $2.834, which ranks as a still-enviable second lowest. Sharon ($2.852) and New Castle ($2.870) were the only other towns below $2.90.

For the second week in a row, Warren ($3.059) has the most expensive fuel, edging Brookville ($3.042).

Pennsylvania’s average increased seven cents to $2.91, while the national figure rose five cents to $2.71. Nearly 25 states posted an increase of five cents or more this week.

Prices across the state were impacted by the fire at, and planned closure of, the PES South Philadelphia refinery last week. That blaze led to a 1.2-million-barrel drop in gasoline inventories, which combined with increasing crude oil prices and a record number of automobile travelers anticipated for the July 4 holiday, may fuel more fuel-price increases.

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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