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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lockport-area gas prices increased by 2 cents, 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, up from $2.469 last week and $3.694 this time last year. The national average is $2.427.

Significant price jumps in West Coast markets due to refinery outages and operational issues have kept upward pressure on the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline. The national average has moved higher for 35 consecutive days, the longest streak of increases since February 2013. This 13-cent weekly increase is the largest spike since July 2013.

Gas prices historically tend to rise during this time of year as refineries nationwide conduct planned seasonal maintenance that can limit fuel production. However, unexpected refinery outages on the West Coast have exacerbated seasonal production declines, and the price at the pump has jumped significantly higher in impacted markets.

Volatility remains a central theme in the global oil market, and reports of increased production from Libya and a rise in exports from Iraq will likely keep global prices on the move. U.S. production companies are beginning to scale back plans for exploration and production, and the number of U.S. oil rigs in operation continues to decrease in light of shrinking profit margins and the global market’s continuing oversupply. Nevertheless, production remains high and stocks continue to build. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate was up $1.59 settling at $49.76 per barrel.

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