The price of petrol dipped a bit in Western Pennsylvania for a third straight week.

The average price of a gallon of unleaded self-serve this week is $2.816, down 1.4 cents from $2.830 last week, AAA East Central reported Monday afternoon. The current price is 29.1 cents higher than it was a year ago, at $2.525.

Washington’s average dropped 2.5 cents this week to $2.718, from $2.743. The city’s average is the fifth-lowest among 22 Western Pennsylvania cities and towns monitored by AAA. This is the fourth week in a row Washington is among the lowest five.

For the third consecutive week, New Castle ($2.638) has the cheapest gas. Latrobe ($2.648) and Greensburg ($2.702) are second and third, as they were last week. Uniontown ($2.813) ranks 12th.

Meadville ($2.948) has the most expensive fuel for the second straight week, 0.8 cents higher than Clarion ($2.940).

Pennsylvania’s average remained at $2.75, the highest among states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region, and in the top 10 nationally. A number of states in the region experienced slight increases, which AAA says is probably attributable to the substantial amount of holiday motorists expected – including an estimated 16 million in the Northeast.

Gasoline stocks grew by a slight 600,000 barrels, according to Energy Information Administration, for a total 62.9 million. And regional refinery rates increased by only 1%. Gas prices are expected to fluctuate slightly over the next week.

The national average dropped a penny to $2.54, nearly 20 cents higher than a year ago.

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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