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Gasoline prices dipped for a third consecutive week in Western Pennsylvania – but, again, just a little.

The average price of a gallon of unleaded self-serve declined 2.7 cents from last week, from $2.951 to $2.924, AAA East Central announced Monday afternoon. Fuel across the region is 17.9 cents cheaper than it was a year ago when it was at $3.103.

Washington’s average rose ever so slightly – one-tenth of a cent – from $2.971 to $2.972. That is ninth-highest average among 22 Western Pennsylvania cities and towns monitored by AAA. Washington’s figure has gone up 12.1 cents over the past seven weeks.

For the 14th time in 15 weeks, Altoona has the cheapest fuel in the region with an average of $2.684. That is 11.2 cents lower than the town with the second-lowest average, Du Bois ($2.796).

For the third week in a row, Brookville ($3.049) has the most expensive gas, followed by Kittanning ($3.011) and Clarion ($3.008) – the only towns $3 or above.

Pennsylvania’s figure dropped two cents to $2.87, as prices declined through most of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region.

Gasoline inventory remained at about 59 million barrels while regional refinery utilization dropped from 77% to 76%, according to the Energy Information Administration. Analysts said imports may help increase fuel stocks, which could stabilize gas prices.

The national average dropped two cents from last week to $2.71, which is 15 cents cheaper than at this time last year.

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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