Hey Look: Pennsylvania's Gas Prices Are Dropping

  • Scott Detrow

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All year, we’ve been charting the steady uptick of gasoline prices in Pennsylvania. This week, the news is a bit different: the average price of gas actually dropped by about a cent a gallon in the Keystone State.
AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge pegs the average per-gallon cost at $3.968 today. That’s still higher than where gas was a month ago, but it’s slightly below last week’s price of $3.978.
Lancaster has the state’s cheapest gas, at $3.92. It costs the most to fill up in Philadelphia, at $3.98.
What’s behind the declining – or at least steadying – price? CNN credits  a dip in global crude oil prices, and predicts prices may have peaked for the year.
The LA Times is a bit more skeptical, pointing out gas prices almost always shoot up in the summer:

Gasoline prices are dropping for the second straight week, but don’t get too excited. Fuel prices have peaked before mid-May just once in the past 20 years, according to Energy Department statistics, and it hasn’t happened since 1998.
History suggests that the national average won’t peak before mid-May at the earliest.
The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline fell to $3.907, down another 2 cents since last week, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. Fuel prices first began to fall in California about a month ago, although the decline has been slow. The average price for a gallon of gasoline in California is $4.221, down 4.3 cents since last week and off 13.2 cents since last month.

And in Pennsylvania, you need to remember the refinery factor. If a major Philadelphia gas processing plant shuts down this summer, prices could soar. here’s what StateImpact Pennsylvania reported earlier this year:

Penn­syl­va­nia cus­tomers also catch a break because they live near major refiner­ies in the Philadel­phia area. These are the places that con­cert crude oil into gasoline.
But two of those refiner­ies closed in recent months, because of that grow­ing dis­par­ity between East Coast and Mid­west crude oil prices.
Another Philadel­phia refin­ery, oper­ated by Sunoco, processes about a quar­ter of the east coast’s gaso­line, but may shut down in July. Kloza said that may send the region’s gas prices soar­ing. “Clos­ing down that refin­ery in the mid­dle of the sum­mer is a lit­tle bit like an air­line going on strike Thanks­giv­ing week­end. That would be the worst-possible sce­nario,” he said.
The Depart­ment of Energy warns regional gas prices could “spike” if the refin­ery closes.

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