AAA: Gas Prices on the Rise in Pennsylvania as Demand Increases Nationwide

JEFFERSON CO., Pa. (EYT) – The average price of gasoline across Western Pennsylvania is eight cents higher this week at $2.342 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

Jefferson County drivers are paying an average of $2.345 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline. In Clarion County, the standard price is $2.322. The average in Clearfield County is $2.316.

As gas prices increase across the country, five Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states carry averages of $2/gallon or more: Pennsylvania ($2.22), New York ($2.18), Washington, D.C., ($2.13), New Jersey ($2.02) and Maryland ($2.01). At $1.75, Virginia has the lowest state average in the region. On the week, the region saw prices increase between two and eight cents.

Regional gasoline stocks have increased for two weeks with levels inching closer to the 72-million-barrel mark. This build is supported by a small increase in regional refinery utilization, which has mostly hovered near the 50% mark over the last four weeks. Gas prices are likely to continue increasing in the weeks ahead.

This week’s average prices: Western Pennsylvania Average $2.342
Average price during the week of May 18, 2020 $2.265
Average price during the week of May 28, 2019 $3.030

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

$2.341 Altoona
$2.334 Beaver
$2.337 Bradford
$2.345 Brookville
$2.337 Butler
$2.322 Clarion
$2.316 DuBois
$2.334 Erie
$2.340 Greensburg
$2.356 Indiana
$2.354 Jeannette
$2.345 Kittanning
$2.387 Latrobe
$2.345 Meadville
$2.359 Mercer
$2.272 New Castle
$2.338 New Kensington
$2.359 Oil City
$2.332 Pittsburgh
$2.359 Sharon
$2.348 Uniontown
$2.359 Warren
$2.347 Washington

On the National Front

After dropping to a low of $1.76 in April, the national gas price average is pennies away from hitting the $2/gallon mark. Today’s average is $1.96, which is eight cents higher than a week ago, 19 cents more than last month, but still a significant 87 cents cheaper than the end of May 2019.

The more expensive pump prices can be attributed to fluctuations in crude and demand. In the past week, crude oil hit its highest price point – nearly $34 per barrel – since the Administration declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency and many states started implementing stay-at-home restrictions. While demand has been increasing since the end of April, it is down 28% compared to the first three weeks of May last year.

One factor that AAA is monitoring and which could cause a sudden spike in gas prices is the Atlantic hurricane season, which is June 1 through November 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts the 2020 season will be above-normal, potentially resulting in 13-19 named storms. An average Atlantic hurricane season typically produces 12 named storms, including 3 major hurricanes.

At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate decreased by 67 cents to settle at $33.25 per barrel. Although tension between Hong Kong and China lowered prices on Friday, crude prices generally increased last week amid growing market optimism that domestic crude demand continues to rebound as more states ease stay-at-home restrictions and demand for gasoline has grown.

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


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