Falling crude oil prices are benefiting Western Pennsylvania motorists.

A gallon of unleaded self-serve dropped by an average of 2.3 cents a gallon across the region this week, AAA East Central reported Monday afternoon. The average declined from $2.884 to $2.861.

Prices had risen the previous two weeks, after falling for eight weeks in a row. The new regional average is 24.4 cents cheaper than it was a year ago, when it stood at $3.105.

Crude prices have dropped in the two-plus weeks since drone attacks hit two major Saudi Arabian oil facilities. The U.S. average at the pump remained at $2.65, but prices did slide by a nickel or more in 10 states.

Washington’s average fell 5.9 cents this week, to $2.741 from $2.800 – negating a 4.8-cent bump last week. Washington’s price, for the second straight week, is the third-lowest among 22 Western Pennsylvania cities and towns monitored by AAA. The city’s figure has dropped 23.1 cents over the past eight weeks.

Altoona, for the 22nd time in 23 weeks, has the cheapest gasoline in the region with an average of $2.603. New Castle ($2.692) has the second-lowest average. Uniontown ranks 15th at $2.914.

Mercer is listed as having the most expensive fuel ($2.968), while Erie and Warren ($2.959) are tied for the second-highest.

Pennsylvania’s average dipped three cents, following a nine-cent jump last week, as all states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region posted lower prices. Delaware had the largest decline – eight cents – this week.

Regional gas inventory increased by two million gallons, to 64.3 million, according to the Energy Information Administration. And regional refinery use increased by 1% to 68%. Those factors may keep pump prices steady, or cause them to dip, in the next week.

The national average of $2.65 is up seven cents from last month, but down 22 cents from this time in 2018.

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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