Gas Prices End the Year on a Higher Note

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Gas prices are two cents lower in Western Pennsylvania this week at $3.528 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

Despite the small decline, prices in the region ended 2021 more than a dollar higher than this time last year.

This week’s average prices: Western Pennsylvania Average                $3.528
Average price during the week of December 20, 2021                            $3.548
Average price during the week of December 28, 2020                            $2.475

The average price of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas:      

$3.537      Altoona
$3.548      Beaver
$3.581      Bradford
$3.362      Brookville
$3.459      Butler
$3.522      Clarion
$3.518      DuBois
$3.543      Erie
$3.493      Greensburg
$3.547      Indiana
$3.550      Jeannette
$3.505      Kittanning
$3.544      Latrobe
$3.566      Meadville
$3.583      Mercer
$3.487      New Castle
$3.530      New Kensington
$3.579      Oil City
$3.530      Pittsburgh

$3.486      Sharon
$3.569      Uniontown
$3.582      Warren
$3.521      Washington

Trend Analysis:

Gasoline prices fluctuated over the past few days as fears of an omicron-driven economic slowdown were countered by news of a severe fire at a major oil refinery. Last Thursday, a fire erupted at the Exxon Mobil Corp refinery in Baytown, Texas. The plant is one of the largest refining and petrochemical facilities in the United States. If the damage forces the plant offline for long, the disruption could negatively affect gasoline prices. The recent steady decline in pump prices has slowed, with the national average for a gallon of gas falling two cents on the week to $3.28.

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks increased by 5.5 million barrels to 224.1 million barrels last week. On the other hand, gasoline demand decreased from 9.47 million b/d to 8.99 million b/d. Typically, falling demand and increased supply would support larger drops in pump prices, but fluctuations in the price of crude oil have helped to keep pump prices elevated.

At the close of last week’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate increased by $1.03 to settle at $73.79. Despite demand concerns over the omicron variant of COVID-19, crude prices increased after the EIA reported that total domestic crude stocks decreased by 4.7 million barrels last week to 423.6 million barrels. The current stock level is 15.2 percent lower than in December 2020, contributing to pressure on domestic crude prices.

Motorists can find current gas prices nationwide, statewide, and countywide at GasPrices.AAA.com.