Hey Look: Pennsylvania's Gas Prices Are Dropping
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.