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Monday, January 12, 2015

Lockport area gas prices dropped nearly six cents this week, according to AAA East Central’s weekly Fuel Gauge report. The average price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline, based on reports from 22 stations in the Lockport area, was $2.728, down from $2.789 last week and $3.636 this time last year.

The national average continues to test lows not seen since May 2009 and has now dropped a record 109 consecutive days. Barring any major increases in the global price of crude oil, AAA expects the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline to remain below $3.00 per gallon in 2015. 18 states are now below $3/gallon; that number could rise to 25 by the end of next week given current trends.

The dramatic slide in retail gas prices has been driven by a similar plummet in global crude oil prices since the end of the summer. This decline in the price of oil has been a product of weak demand combined with abundant supply. While lower gas prices are certainly a welcome relief for consumers, the broad impact of sustained low oil prices are front of mind for many industry stakeholders. In countries like the United States where the cost of oil extraction is more expensive, producers may be forced to reassess their plans to factor in profit margins that are sharply lower or even reversed as markets continue to register multi-year lows.

The global price of crude has lost more than half its value since mid-2014. OPEC has reiterated that it will not intervene in the market to force prices higher and plans to sustain its current production levels, with the earliest possibility for supply reductions reportedly pushed to their next meeting scheduled for June. Sustained low prices for crude can also potentially influence the way global markets are assessed. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate closed up by more than $1.00 at $48.36 per barrel.

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