AAA: Downward Trend Continues at the Pump in Pennsylvania

| April 1, 2020

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – After falling by 13 cents last week, the average price of gasoline across Western Pennsylvania is another 13 cents cheaper this week at $2.229 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

As pump prices continue to plummet across the country, prices in Western Pennsylvania are ending March a whopping 44 cents cheaper than at the beginning of the month.

Motorists in Venango County are paying $2.220 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline. In Jefferson County, the cost is $2.244. For drivers in Clarion County, the price is $2.298.

“This week, the national gas price will drop below $2/gallon for the first time in four years, and it won’t stop there as demand for gasoline diminishes as Americans stay home,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Ten states already have averages at $1.75 or less.”

On the week, 12 Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states saw gas prices push cheaper by at least a dime. These states saw the most substantial pump price decrease of 13 cents: Maine ($1.93), West Virginia ($1.96), New Hampshire ($2.04), Connecticut ($2.16), and Pennsylvania ($2.22).

Gasoline stocks decreased by 1.2 million barrels. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) measures total inventory for the region at 60 million barrels. However, regional refinery utilization bumped up 1% to 58%. Gas prices should continue to decrease across the region in the week ahead, with more states seeing their average fall below $2.00 per gallon.

This week’s average prices: Western Pennsylvania Average – $2.229
Average price last week – $2.358
Average price one year ago – $2.809

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

$2.205 Oil City
$2.310 Clarion
$2.194 Brookville
$2.253 Du Bois
$2.285 Kittanning
$2.109 Altoona
$2.271 Butler
$2.157 Erie
$2.244 Indiana
$2.285 Kittanning
$2.232 Mercer
$1.909 New Castle
$2.329 Pittsburgh
$2.237 Sharon

On the National Front

At $2.01, the national gas price average is 11-cents cheaper on the week, 43-cents less expensive on the month, and 68-cents less than a year ago. This week, AAA expects that the national gas average will drop below $2.00 per gallon for the first time in four years, with the potential of falling even further in the weeks ahead.

Crude oil continues to price low as U.S. gasoline demand decreases to numbers typically seen during the winter driving season. There is an atypical amount of winter-blend gasoline supply still available, which has caused the Environmental Protection Agency to extend the sale of winter blend past the May 1 deadline to May 20. The agency said they would continue to monitor and, if necessary, extend the waiver again.

One of the key differences between summer and winter-blend types of gasoline is how easily the fuel evaporates at a given temperature. The more volatile a gasoline, the easier it evaporates. Summer-blend gasoline has a lower volatility to prevent excessive evaporation when outside temperatures rise. It also has a higher cost of production, which is one of the reasons gas prices typically increase in the spring and summer months. Delaying the switch-over to summer-blend gasoline should prove to be another contributing factor to sustained lower gas prices.

While this delay and lower demand are major players in the steep drop in gas prices, the cost of crude oil continues to steal the show (crude accounts for more than 50 cents of every dollar spent at the pump). West Texas Intermediate, a grade of crude oil used as a benchmark in oil pricing, continues to hover in the $20.00 per barrel range, at times dipping into the teens.

Prices continue to decline as the public health, financial, and economic impacts from COVID-19 continue to mount.

Until these impacts subside and Russia and Saudi Arabia end their crude price war, the cost of a barrel of oil is likely to remain at lows not seen in nearly two decades.

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


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