Gasoline prices increased marginally in Western Pennsylvania, a sharp contrast to last week’s 10.3-cent jump.

The average price of a gallon of unleaded self-serve gasoline is $2.874, up one-tenth of one cent from last week, AAA East Central reported Monday afternoon. The current price is 15.8 cents higher than it was the first week of December 2018, at $2.716.

Washington’s average bumped up 2.5 cents this week to $2.812. That follows a 9.9-cent jump last week to $2.787. The city’s average is the fourth-lowest among 22 Western Pennsylvania cities and towns monitored by AAA. Washington ranked second last week.

New Castle ($2.684) has the cheapest gas, followed by Sharon ($2.799) and Butler ($2.808). Uniontown ($2.883) ranks 13th.

Clarion ($2.968) has the most expensive fuel, 0.9 cents higher than Warren ($2.959).

Three states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region experienced increases this week: North Carolina (four cents), Rhode island (one cent) and New Hampshire (one cent). The other states remained stable or had small decreases. Regional prices ranged from $2.31 to $2.79.

The region experienced a small increase in gasoline stocks – 800,000 barrels – this week, according to the Energy Information Administration. That was accompanied by a 3% rise in regional refinery utilization. Continued increases could lead to cheaper gas prices.

The national average dropped a penny to $2.58, as an estimated 49 million travelers hit the nation’s roadways. Prices fluctuated slightly, with most states posting decreases.

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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