A recent bump in temperature coincided with a slight drop in prices at the pump this week.
New Castle’s average gas price fell three cents from last week to this week, in line with a two-cent decrease in the western Pennsylvania average. The national average, however, stood steady at $2.58 a gallon.
The average in the city is now $2.79 for a gallon of unleaded gas. The $2.79 price is still considerably higher than this week last year when a gallon of gas at the pumps cost $2.46.
“I’ve noticed that,” New Castle resident Rob King said while filling up his tank Tuesday afternoon at Speedway downtown. “They went up a little bit before that.”
King, like many in Lawrence County, have been known to cross the state line to take advantage of Ohio’s cheaper prices. He said he also recently used online services, like GasBuddy, during a trip back from Pittsburgh to find the cheapest gas around.
This week’s national average is two cents more than last month and 34 cents more expensive than the beginning of 2019. Nearly every state in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region posted price declines. Despite the decreases, Pennsylvania still carries one of the most expensive averages in the region and is one of the most expensive in the country.
Virginia — at a $2.37 average — is the lowest in the country.
“A healthy and growing level of domestic gasoline stocks alongside decreasing demand are two factors helping to minimize gas price fluctuations,” AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano said.
“In the last week, about 32 states saw pump prices push less expensive by just a penny or two or saw no change at all.”
The Energy Information Administration measures regional gasoline stocks at 64.6 million barrels, which is up by 800,000 barrels for the week ending Jan. 3.
Levels have not been this high since late September 2019, which is helping to edge gas prices cheaper and keep price fluctuation minimal in the region.
The EIA measures U.S. demand at 8.1 million barrels per day, which is the lowest reading for the first week of the year since January 2016. At 251.6 million barrels — the highest start of the year on record — gasoline stocks have only measured this high two other times in EIA history.