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Monday, March 23, 2015

Lockport-area gas prices stayed basically the same over the past week, dropping a fraction of a cent 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 $2.494, up from $2.500 last week and $3.719 this time last year. The national average is $2.424.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil reached a six-year low this past week, keeping downward pressure on the national price of gasoline. This downward pressure has, at least temporarily, offset potential price gains from robust demand, regional refinery maintenance and the seasonal transition to more expensive summer-blend gasoline.

Global crude prices continued to tumble with reports of growing supply and the strengthening U.S. dollar. The likelihood of a possible nuclear deal between the West and Iran also has the potential to bring more oil to the global market. Additionally, comments by Saudi Arabia’s oil minister yesterday indicated that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would not cut oil production to increase global oil prices, instead electing to let the market self-correct.

The domestic oil market in the U.S is facing similar oversupply dynamics and concerns that rising U.S. production could outpace storage capacity is contributing to lower prices. WTI fell to its lowest level since the 2009 Great Recession this past week, although prices did recover some of those losses to end the week. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up $1.76 at $45.72 per barrel.

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