Gasoline is 13 Cents Cheaper This Week
Last updated 3/26/2020 at Noon
After falling by 12 cents last week, the average price of gasoline across Western Pennsylvania is another 13 cents cheaper this week at $2.358 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.
Prices have pushed cheaper across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region this week, and many states are seeing prices that are nearly 40 cents cheaper on the month.
Pennsylvania’s average is 11 cents cheaper this week at $2.35.
Since early February, Energy Information Administration (EIA) data show that regional gasoline stocks have declined. The latest draw of nearly 2 million barrels brings total stock levels down to 62 million barrels. More concerning, regional refinery utilization is at its lowest point (57 percent) since 2012.
While gas prices in the region are moving cheaper primarily because of inexpensive crude oil prices, declining stock levels and lower refinery rates are slowing the pace at which pump prices drop in the region compared to other states in the Midwest and Southern regions.
This week’s average prices
Western Pennsylvania Average – $2.358
Average price during the week of March 16, 2020 – $2.489
Average price during the week of March 25, 2019 – $2.791
The average price of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas:
$2.370 Du Bois
$2.001 New Castle
$2.406 New Kensington
$2.407 Oil City
On the National Front
With the national average at $2.12, pump prices are, on average, 50 cents less than this time last year. Across the country, state averages are less than $3/gallon except in Hawaii ($3.47) and California ($3.21). Twenty-nine states have gas price averages at $2.10 or less with Oklahoma ($1.71) carrying the cheapest in the country.
Crude oil is the biggest driver of the less expensive gas prices. Crude accounts for more than 50 percent of the retail pump prices, and in the last week, crude oil prices dropped to $22 per barrel, a low not seen since 2002. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crude price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia continue to push crude prices down, and until these factors cease, domestic crude prices are likely to remain low.
While gas prices start to trend more expensive at the beginning of spring, especially as motorists get out to enjoy the warmer weather and travel for spring break, it appears that will not yet be the case this year. With Americans urged to stay at home and practice social distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus, there is less traffic on the roadways which will ultimately drive down demand, increase gasoline supply and push pump prices less expensive for the foreseeable future.