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AAA: Gas Prices End the Year on a Higher Note

 

December 30, 2021



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 end 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 Dec. 20, 2021: $3.548

Average price during the week of Dec. 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.

 

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