Finally – a bona fide plummet in gasoline prices around here.
The average price of a gallon of unleaded self-serve dropped 7.6 cents this week to $2.925, AAA East Central announced Monday afternoon. This is the fifth consecutive week fuel prices have fallen in the region, totaling 17.8 cents. This latest average is 19.9 cents lower than it was a year ago.
Washington’s price, which dipped slightly in recent weeks, declined significantly this week – 12.5 cents from $3.033 to $2.908. That is the sixth-lowest price among 22 Western Pennsylvania cities and towns monitored by AAA. and a major jump down from 15th.
Nineteen of those towns averaged below $3.00. Altoona, for the seventh week in a row, has the cheapest average at $2.682. Mercer ($3.048) has the most expensive fuel, slightly higher than Brookville ($3.024) and Kittanning ($3.021).
Pennsylvania’s average declined six cents to $2.89, but that ties New York and Connecticut for the highest average among the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
The price declines were fueled by a large buildup in gasoline stocks – about 1.9 million barrels, raising inventories to 65.1 billion, according to the Energy Information Administration. Regional refinery utilization rose to 94%, which helped to contain prices.
The national average also fell seven cents to $2.74. AAA reported that the average price in nearly every state is lower than it was a week ago, a month ago and a year ago.