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Monday, February 2, 2015

Lockport-area gas prices dropped nearly eight 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 $2.483, down from $2.541 last week and $3.578 this time last year.

After falling a record 123 consecutive days, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline inched upward on Tuesday by fractions of a penny. Gas prices have begun to increase due to a series of refinery issues in the Midwest and because crude oil prices are trading at more stable levels following a multi-month selloff.

Similar to years past, the national average is expected to rise in the coming months due to the seasonal demand increase and refinery maintenance. However, global oil prices continue to register multi-year lows with supply outpacing demand, and barring any events that cause the global price to increase substantially, AAA expects that the U.S. average will remain below $3 per gallon throughout 2015. Global oil prices are also expected to remain relatively low during the first half of 2015.

The ripple effects of sharply lower prices for crude are beginning to surface in both high-cost production countries as well as in producer nations that depend on oil revenue to balance budgets and provide social services to citizens. Production companies around the globe are challenged with the decision of either cutting investments or continuing to supply the market at dramatically lower profit margins. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate was up $3.71 to settle at $48.24 per barrel, which was the highest settlement in about two weeks.

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