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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lockport-area gas has increased 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, is 2.854, same from $2.849 last week and $3.842 this time last year. The national average is $2.773.

Despite rising prices over the past several months, drivers are poised to pay the lowest prices at the pump over the Fourth of July holiday weekend in at least five years. While pump prices are down on the week, they are up four cents per gallon month-over-month, largely due to regional refinery issues that put upward pressure on the national average over the last 30 days. Gas prices continue to reflect considerable yearly discounts with drivers saving an average of 90 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.

Pump prices often fall leading up to the Independence Day holiday. However, a seasonal decline in the national average this year has been offset by supply shortages due to localized refinery issues and global crude prices that have recovered from multi-year lows this spring.

Concerns of oversupply continue to characterize the global oil market. The pending June 30 deadline for an Iranian nuclear deal could contribute further to the market’s oversupply if current sanctions are removed and Iranian oil returns to the global market.. Escalating tensions in these regions have the potential to cause supply disruptions, which could contribute to price volatility in the near term.

Market watchers are also paying close attention the European Union, where Greece may default on its debt obligations this week. This sets up a Greek referendum for this coming weekend on whether the country should accept a bailout deal offered by international creditors. This news sent global oil prices lower this morning on worries of reduced global demand and the potential for instability in global financial markets. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down seven cents and settled at $59.63 per barrel.

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