Gasoline prices in Western Pennsylvania have risen for the sixth time in the past seven weeks.

The average price of a gallon of unleaded self-serve gasoline rose to $2.810 this week, a 3.6-cent bump, according to AAA East Central. That figure is 8.6 cents higher than it was in mid-February 2020.

A gallon of fuel, on average, costs 33.2 cents more than it did seven weeks ago in the region.

AAA monitors weekly prices in 23 cities and towns across Western Pennsylvania, where the greater Washington area experienced a hefty 11.6-cent bump this week to $2.801 – the sixth-lowest average in the region. The city’s price has been in the lower third of the group for each of the past 16 weeks.

Fuel prices in the Washington area, though, have risen 53.4 cents over the past seven weeks – from $2.267 since early January.

Latrobe, for the second week in a row, has the region’s cheapest petrol at $2.499, followed by New Castle ($2.641).

At the opposite end . . . Uniontown’s average rose 4.1 cents to $2.873, tying it with Kittanning for the second-highest price. Indiana ($2.874) has the priciest fuel.

Pennsylvania’s average increased by 4.6 cents to $2.809, one-tenth of a penny below the regional mark. The national figure jumped five cents to $2.51, which is nearly 30 cents per gallon lower than in the Keystone State.

Prices continue to rise nationwide despite lower demand, which has averaged 7.7 million barrels a day since January. This is the first time since 2001 that demand has been below eight million b/d during the first six weeks of the year.

Nearly 40 states, according to AAA, have more expensive fuel than they did a year ago. About half of those price increases are in double digits.

The agency attributes these continued bumps upward to rising oil prices, which were at $59.47 a barrel last Friday.

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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