The average price of gasoline across Western Pennsylvania is 12 cents cheaper this week at $2.489 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

On the week, motorists in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region saw average declines of 6 to 15 cents. Maine ($2.21) saw the biggest weekly difference of any state in the region (-15 cents). State gas price averages are $2.50 or less for every state in the region. New York ($2.48), Washington, D.C. ($2.47) and Pennsylvania ($2.46) carry the highest averages in the region while North Carolina ($2.07) and Virginia ($2.06) have the cheapest regional averages.

Gasoline stocks built by 400,000 barrels, bumping total regional stock levels to nearly 64 million barrels. More positive news for the region was revealed in the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest report: refinery utilization increased for the first time since early January, up by almost three percentage points to nearly 59%. In the coming week, regional gas prices are likely to continue to follow the national trend of pushing cheaper.

The average price of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas includes $2.626 in Bradford, $2.215 in New Castle and $2.650 in Beaver.

As crude oil prices trending slightly below $30/barrel today, Americans are seeing pump prices plummet across the country. On the week, gas price averages in 35 states decreased by double-digits, pushing the national average to $2.25, the cheapest price point of the year. AAA expects gas prices to continue trending cheaper, with a chance of the national average nearing $2/gallon.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate increased by 23 cents to settle at $31.73. Fears about COVID-19 and the crude price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia pushed prices lower last week. After President Trump announced that the U.S. Department of Energy would purchase oil to top off the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, crude prices rallied briefly. However, the announcement is unlikely to help increase crude prices further since the limited number of barrels the U.S. could purchase is small when compared to the dramatic reduction in global crude demand.

Moving into this week, crude prices are likely to continue decreasing as the world grapples with how to contain the ongoing international public health crisis and associated economic challenges that could lead to a global recession. Until the price war ends and fears about COVID-19 subside, domestic crude prices are likely to remain low.

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