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PA gas prices drop again as demand weakens and stockpiles increase, AAA says

Gas prices are falling nationwide and in Pennsylvania, according to the latest data from AAA.
Gas prices are falling nationwide and in Pennsylvania, according to the latest data from AAA.
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Information from AAA daily gas pump surveys shows prices continuing to drop, with Friday’s national average price for a gallon of regular $3.471, down almost 9 cents from the previous week, and off 16.9 cents from a month ago.

The national average is now lower than it was at the same time last year, according to the automobile association’s data. It had been tracking slightly higher. Two state have averages below $3 per gallon.

AAA’s Andrew Gross noted in a news release that the decrease in prices appears to be a trend and not an anomaly.

“More states should see their averages dip below $3 a gallon in the coming weeks.”

Pennsylvania reflects that trend, with the state’s prices off about 1% from last year. The drop in the Lehigh Valley is smaller. Local prices are $3.59 per gallon, off just a penny from a year ago, but down 15 cents from where they were at the beginning of May.

Demand was down about 2.2% to 8.94 million barrels per day compared with the previous week, while stocks rose 0.9% to 230.9 million barrels.

The average price belies a wide variation in pump prices across the 50 states and District of Columbia. The south-central states generally have the lowest prices, often led by Mississippi, where the current average is $2.97 per gallon. Arkansas also dipped below $3, now at $2.99. California once again has the highest average, but it is down from $5.138 a week ago to $4.96, according to Friday’s survey.

Pennsylvania has the highest average prices in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. It rose from 12th highest in the nation last week to ninth this week. Carbon County still has the price to beat in the state: $3.511 per gallon. Northampton County comes in at $3.573, while Lehigh is at $3.631.

The chart below shows average prices in regional metropolitan areas, comparing current prices to those from last week, last month and last year.

The following chart, based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, shows the annual percentage increase or decrease in a gallon of conventional regular gasoline in the multistate Central Atlantic region, as reported weekly by EIA. The data from the EIA is published weekly, so it lags behind the AAA’s daily surveys.

The EIA also publish data showing production and blending levels of all motor gasoline formulations. Production levels can change substantially from month to month based on facilities shutting down because of reduced demand, severe weather, accidents or planned shutdowns to change formulations.

The graph below shows the daily average production based on weekly reports, along with a 12-week rolling average to show longer-range trends.

Production topped 10 million barrels per day for the first time this year in the weeks of May 17 and 24. It declined to 9.5 million barrels for the week of May 31, the latest available data.

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